Thai Government partners with Chinese tech giant to boost digital trade
The Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand (EECO) and other Thai Government entities signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with Alibaba Group covering four areas of collaboration, including investment in a Smart Digital Hub to boost regional and global trade through E-commerce.
The Thai Government is promoting the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development plan as one of the key measures to realise the Thailand 4.0 vision, which aims to help the country escape the middle-income trap, achieve sustainable growth and reduce income disparities.
“Such mutual collaboration will be beneficial to Thai farmers, SMEs, Domestic E-commerce (B2C) operators and startups who want to gain access to the global market.”, Mr Kanit Sangsubhan, Secretary General of the EECO, said at today’s MOU signing ceremony.
“The collaboration with Alibaba Group will start a new chapter of digital trade in Thailand. as it is a significant transformation for Thailand’s business and trade procedures. The collaboration will be a great help to Thai SME entrepreneurs and farmers to increase their competitiveness in terms of new product development and access to the global market. Moreover, the transformation of digital trade and businesses will be an important step towards Thailand 4.0. Note, however, that these MOUs do not preclude other similar business operators to enter Thai markets in the future,” Mr Kanit added.
The scope of the agreements is as described below.
Strategic Cooperation Framework
This agreement between Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EECO) and Alibaba.com Singapore E-Commerce Private Limited covers the expansion of Thai exports of agricultural and other products to the global markets through Alibaba’s platform, starting with Thai rice and durian. This also includes OTOP Products, OTOP referring to ‘One Tambon (meaning sub-district) One Product’, a local entrepreneurship stimulus program which aims to support the unique locally made and marketed products of each Thai tambon all over Thailand.
This MOU also focuses on boosting skills for Thai small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs in E-commerce and digital business channels, as well as the promotion of tourism for the secondary provinces and local communities. Alibaba has also expressed its intention to invest in the Smart Digital Hub in EEC in this MOU.
EEC Smart Digital Hub
An agreement has been signed by EECO, the Thai Customs Department and Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Hong Kong Limited for the establishment of a Smart Digital Hub to boost regional and global trade through e-commerce.
Cainiao, a logistics affiliate of the Alibaba Group, will invest around 11 billion Baht (USD 351 million) this year for the development of the Smart Digital Hub.
Collaboration on the project is expected to help to advance Thailand’s logistics system and customs procedures, rules and regulations, in view of Alibaba’s considerable expertise and experiences in international E-commerce management.
Alibaba through Cainiao will work closely with Thailand’s Customs Department to enhance customs regulation and procedure to efficiently support e-commerce in global market. The investment in the Smart Digital Hub is expected to bring substantial new opportunities to Thailand and will play a crucial role in promoting trade in the CLMVT (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) markets.
SMEs and Digital Talents Development Cooperation
A MOU has been signed for this between the Department of Industrial Promotion of Thailand, the Department of International Trade Promotion of Thailand and the Alibaba Business School.
This MOU aims to educate Thai entrepreneurs, particularly farmers, SMEs and startups about new technologies and digital knowledge. Alibaba plans to develop training programmes for at least 30,000 people a year, helping Thais to gain a more competitive edge as the E-commerce tends to enjoy a more rapid growth in the near future.
Smart and Digital Tourism Cooperation
A MOU between Tourism Authority of Thailand and Zhejiang Fliggy Network Technology Company Limited, a travel brand of Alibaba Group, aims to systematically promote Thailand tourism in secondary provinces of China by utilising Alibaba’s online platforms to run marketing activities such as reservations for rooms, tickets and vacation packages around the world, helping to draw more international visitors to the country. Information on Thai shops and restaurants will be introduced on digital platforms that Chinese tourists can easily access.