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Alibaba to build digital hub in Thailand


China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba will establish a Smart Digital Hub in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Alibaba Group said here on Thursday.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha met with founder of the online shopping giant Jack Ma before an agreement was signed to help set up the hub to facilitate trade among Thailand, China, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The Internet retail giant is reportedly proposing investments worth about 11 billion baht (about 330 million U.S. dollars) in the digital hub.

The digital hub will utilize world-class data and logistics technologies of Alibaba and Cainiao, the official global parcel tracking platform of Alibaba Group to optimize the cross-border flow of goods between Thailand and other Asian countries.

Alibaba said Cainiao will also work closely with the EEC office and Thai Customs to promote the digitization of customs processes through big data and artificial intelligence as well as sharing of global best practices.

“We are extremely interested in training and developing people here. We aim to provide full-time training for young people and small businesses online,” said Ma, who also signed three other memorandums of understanding with the Thai government on trade, investment and tourism.

Ma said Alibaba not only comes to help Thailand sell its agriculture products, but also hopes to explore opportunities for the young generation and the small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The 45-billion-U.S. dollar EEC project, covering Thailand’s three eastern provinces near the Gulf of Thailand, is aimed at attracting high-tech investment as part of the government’s efforts to boost growth.

Groundbreaking for the digital hub will be held this year, with operations expected to commence in 2019.