Closer digital ties forged between Malaysian and Chinese governments

Alibaba Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Hangzhou Municipal Government to connect the first e-hubs in the two countries under the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).

Under the MOU, the parties will join forces to explore linkages between the China (Hangzhou) Cross-Border E-Commerce Comprehensive Pilot Zone – which Alibaba helped establish – and the DFTZ in Malaysia.

The DFTZ was established by Alibaba and MDEC in March this year, as pilot implementation towards building an e-road for global trade.

The agreement also seeks to enable the building of infrastructure for seamless cross-border e-commerce trade between Malaysia and China, along with exploring potential strategic collaborations.

By leveraging Alibaba’s internet and data technologies, the parties will facilitate cooperation between public and private enterprises in Hangzhou and Malaysia to provide easier access to customs clearance, inspection and permit issuance for SMEs to do cross-border trade.

Witnessing the signing in Hangzhou is the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak said:

Fostering closer partnership with China is imperative to sustaining our economic growth, and e-business and commerce is clearly the future of global trade.

"It is therefore exciting to witness the forming of a partnership between government and reputable private enterprises, who will work together to lay the foundation for a more efficient conduct of cross-border trade in the Internet age, to the benefit of all,” Razak added.

“E-commerce is becoming increasingly globalised and it is transforming the way commerce is conducted. With the creation of eWTP, we and partners will build the infrastructure to empower SMEs and young entrepreneurs to succeed in this era of data technology,” Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba said.

In March this year, Alibaba Group established the first overseas e-hub under eWTP with MDEC. The agreed initiatives included the establishment of an e-fulfilment hub near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, a one-stop online cross-border trading services platform, cooperation in e-payment and financing, and the development of e-talent training that will support Malaysia’s planned transformation into a digital economy.

The Group has made progress since then. Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, will take part in the Malaysia Multimedia Super Corridor initiatives, with a planned data centre in Malaysia later this year and certification program for local tech talents, in order to help local SMEs to succeed in the digital age through technology such as big data and Internet of Things (IoT).

Alibaba’s B2B business also launched its Malaysian SME on boarding and external trade promotion program, as well as working with local universities to offer e-commerce training to SMEs. Meanwhile, Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics affiliate, Lazada, Alibaba’s e-commerce arm in Southeast Asia, and Pos Malaysia will work together to set up an e-commerce regional distribution centre, which is expected to come into operation later this year.

The eWTP initiative seeks to remove barriers to trade for smaller firms and emerging nations. This is to support them in realising their full economic potential and ensuring that they can reap the benefits of global commerce. The eWTP seeks to fundamentally change international trade through cost reductions, shortened supply chains and increased efficiencies, complementing the work of the WTO.

The moves follow news in November last year which saw Ma agreeing to act as digital economy adviser to the Malaysian government. The move was announced by Prime Minister Najib Razak in a tweet.

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