Alibaba center in Thailand begins operations

A free trade zone project in Thailand, launched in 2018 by the remote selling company Alibaba, has finally started operating on a trial basis.

The digital hub located in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a special economic zone consisting of three provinces in eastern Thailand, is part of the Electronic Global Trade Platform (eWTP), a multinational initiative supported by Jack Ma when he was still CEO to promote world trade.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha at Government House in Bangkok. Photo: Royal Thai Government

The initiative is currently being highlighted by the Global Digital Trade Expo, a six-day fair that opened Sunday in Hangzhou, the capital of eastern Zhejiang province and the headquarters of Alibaba.

Alibaba also owns the South China Morning Post newspaper.

The free trade zone, which occupies an area of ​​40,000 square meters, has customs warehouses that can store imported goods after entry declaration, according to a statement by eWTP on its official WeChat channel.

It should allow Thai consumers to receive their online purchases from China in three days, compared to ten currently.

The trial, which began on Thursday, marks a major step forward for the partnership agreement, which was signed in April 2018, with the area initially expected to be fully operational in 2019.

The initiative was established in collaboration with Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor Office, a government agency aimed at encouraging investment and innovation in the Southeast Asian country, as well as the department’s customs authorities.

The eWTP was proposed by Ma in 2016 at the Boao Forum for Asia.

Since then, he has personally promoted the project at various events, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The initiative quickly gained support from Chinese and foreign governments.

It was part of the policy recommendations of the 2016 B20 summit and was later included in the communique adopted by G20 leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, at their summit in Hangzhou that year, to support “the policies that encourage companies of all sizes to take full advantage of global value chains”.

Although Ma stepped down from his role at Alibaba, the project continued as part of the e-commerce giant’s efforts to create an eWTP.

As part of this initiative, partnerships have been established in Hangzhou, the eastern city of Yiwu, the southern province of Hainan, as well as in Hong Kong.

In 2017, Alibaba launched a project in Malaysia, which includes a regional logistics center near Kuala Lumpur International Airport and an associated electronic platform, in collaboration with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, marking the first project by the Chinese company outside of Hangzhou.

“The establishment of Thailand’s first digital free trade zone marks the successful replication of China’s model of cross-border e-commerce innovation in Thailand.

This provides practical experience for the future development of the local cross-border e-commerce industry in Thailand,” said Song Juntao, Secretary General of eWTP, as quoted in the eWTP statement.

Source: Bangkok Post

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