Jack Ma can help spearhead Malaysia’s digital economy, PM says

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak having a light moment with Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma (right) during the launching ceremony of Alitrip Malaysia Tourism Pavilion in Beijing November 4, 2016. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak having a light moment with Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma (right) during the launching ceremony of Alitrip Malaysia Tourism Pavilion in Beijing November 4, 2016. — Bernama pic

BEIJING, Nov 4 — The appointment of Alibaba founder Jack Ma as digital economy adviser to the Malaysian government can help spearhead the country’s e-commerce development. 

Prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said it would help open new fields for the Malaysian economy. 

One of the projects earmarked is the Digital Trade Zone, which will be launched jointly with Jack Ma in March next year, he told a news conference with Malaysian journalists here today. 

The implementation of the first Digital Free Trade Zone in the world was unveiled in the 2017 Budget. 

It will merge physical and virtual zones, with additional online and digital services to facilitate international e-commerce and invigorate Internet-based innovation. 

Najib, who is in China for six-day official visit, said as global e-commerce icon, Jack Ma could assist Malaysia in the packaging of e-economy in the implementation of, among others, e-payment, Alipay, online banking, and e-financing. 

Najib said Alibaba had already developed its digital economic tools and had a good track record in implementing them.

Hence, he said the government would be in close consultation with Jack Ma to tap into his expertise in the field.

The prime minister hopes Jack Ma could help connect Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through its online portal to China’s market, which boasted the world’s largest consumer base.

In fact, the development of e-commerce can also help Malaysian SMEs to make forays into China which has a great purchasing power.

Najib, who is reluctant to elaborate on the Digital Trade Zone, said Jack Ma could help Malaysia make it attractive.

Jack Ma is willing to share his ideas and experience in developing the Digital Trade Zone which will not only benefit entrepreneurs but also create a catalyst for the Malaysian economy, the prime minister said. 

Najib said Alipay, a major Chinese payment platform implemented by Alibaba, could attract Chinese tourists to shop in Malaysia.

With Alipay, Chinese tourists can shop without having to bring cash or credit cards.

Najib, who is also finance minister, said the Digital Trade Zone would encourage the creation of new businesses.

For consumers, he said e-commerce could help lower the prices of goods when they buy online and could save them a lot of money.

The prime minister said Jack Ma would be coming to Malaysia in March next year to attend a global transformation forum organised by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) and launch the Digital Trade Zone.

Besides Jack Ma, the prime minister said he also met Wanda Group and Tencent Holdings owners, who had also expressed their interest to participate in the development of Malaysia’s digital economy.

Wanda is China’s largest commercial property company and the world’s largest cinema chain operator, while Tencent is a leading provider of Internet valued-added services in China.

Wanda is keen to invest in the promotion of Malaysia’s tourism industry, he added. — Bernama

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