A Chinese multinational e-commerce company, Alibaba settles Bt11 billion investment in smart digital hub project in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in April 2018
According to Mr. Uttama Savanayana, Minister of Industry, Alibaba plans to set up a logistics centre to support its e-commerce operations in Asean, using Thailand as its digital investment base in the region. The company has already purchased 300 rai of land in EEC areas to develop the smart digital hub, which will consist of distribution centre, logistics facilities, production plant, training centre for Thailand’s small and medium-sized enterprises and processing centre. Besides, Alibaba plans to use the country as a logistics base to provide products through its website, the company will use its facilities and technology to process logistics data. The smart digital hub is expected to serve border trade among China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam and linking all five countries in the Indochina region to the global market.
Moreover, Alibaba also plans to team up with the Thai Customs Department to upgrade and digitise the customs clearance process, supporting Alibaba’s operation in the near future. The first phase of the investment will focus on the construction of warehouse, logistics facilities and Research & Development centre, the second phase will invest in education to upgrade Thailand’s human resources. Construction of the Smart Digital Hub is scheduled to finish by next year.
In addition, Alibaba and the Thai government signed four memorandums of understanding, to collaborate in four areas on April 19, 2018. The first area is the development of smart small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by setting up its R&D unit and business development centre for Thai SMEs. Thai Startups and SMEs will be developed to gain more experience and skills in digital technology and become part of the global value chain, serving as Alibaba’s suppliers to provide products through the group’s e-commerce website.
The second priority area is to support and transform Thai farmers to be the e-commerce operators. The e-commerce giant will join with the Digital Economy and Society, developing programmes to educate Thai farmers on a modern approach to the industry. The company also commit to promote Thai rice and durian in the Chinese market through its platform. The Ministry of Commerce will soon launch the Thai Rice Flagship Store on Tmall.com, which is the e-commerce channel for rice products and durian in the Chinese market.
The third area involves the development of institute for Thai e-commerce Startups in Thailand. Alibaba has committed to set up a human resources development project and set up small institute to provide training for Thai Startups. According to Mr. Uttama, the government will set up a project called Digital Talent and connect with other educational institutions to train students, researchers and lecturers under this project.
Lastly, Alibaba and the Thai government will also collaborate on tourism promotion, focusing on the secondary provinces. Alibaba will team up with the Tourism Authority of Thailand(TAT) to run tourism marketing activities through the online platform and connect with the TAT’s other channels to develop big data for tourism in the future.