Alibaba to set up regional distribution hub in Malaysia

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The Alibaba Group has signed an agreement with the Malaysian government to set up an e-fulfillment hub in Kuala Lumpur and a one-stop online cross-border trading platform.

The Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, and Alibaba Group's Executive Chairman, Jack Ma personally witnessed the signing of the agreement, which also include cooperation in e-payment and financing, and development of e-talent training that will fit into Malaysia's roadmap of transformation into a digital economy.

The e-hub to be built near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport is under the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative which is being undertaken together with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and other parties. The facility is envisiond to function as a centralized customs clearance, warehousing and fulfilment facility for Malaysia and the region, to deliver faster clearance for imports and exports.

"We have set out plans to progress Malaysia's economy and place it firmly at the center of the global marketplace. To do this we need to harness the assets that we have and provide the support for individuals and businesses to be competitive in the new digital landscape. "The Alibaba Group is at the forefront of private sector development of e-commerce solutions and their ambitions to enable trade, particularly for SMEs, make them the perfect partner in this new initiative," said Prime Minister Razak.

Ma proposed the establishment of digital free trade zones for small businesses while attending the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia last June, suggesting that such special trading areas can act as e-commerce hubs linking up markets around the world.

As part of Malaysia's DFTZ initiative, the e-hub will provide new commercial opportunities on the established trade route with the country. As more trading routes are covered with new hubs that reflect the needs of the firms participating in the modern economy, a digital global e-road will be created.

Alibaba has already played a key role in the establishment of the China (Hangzhou) Cross-Border E-Commerce Comprehensive Pilot Free Trade Area which will be connected to the DFTZ in Kuala Lumpur.

The eWTP's e-hub concept has been incorporated into Malaysia's DFTZ which will see the involvement of Alibaba, its subsidiaries and affiliates such as Lazada and Cainiao Network in other areas as well, such as the proposed e-service platform, which, when connected to Alibaba's OneTouch platform, will link Malaysia directly to the e-commerce pilot area in Hangzhou, China.

This way, SMEs and businesses to trade conveniently and efficiently between the two countries. Relevant parties from both sides will also explore e-payment and financing opportunities and establish training programs to help incubate startups and develop skillsets in individuals in support of Malaysia's digital economy development.
"With innovation throughout the supply chain, support from governments and important private sector collaborations, we will achieve our aim of enabling SMEs and young people to thrive and enjoy in the fruits of the next phase of globalization," Ma said.