Alibaba Group announced that the first eWTP (Electronic World Trade Platform) hub outside of China has gone live, providing Malaysian SMEs the infrastructure for doing commerce with services encompassing e-commerce, logistics, cloud computing, mobile payment and talent training.
Alongside the opening of the e-Hub was the ground breaking of an earlier announced, regional e-commerce logistics hub to be developed by Malaysia Airports Holdings and Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics affiliate, through a joint venture. The facility will enable speedy storage, fulfillment, customs clearance and warehousing operations and is located at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
The milestone event – hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma – follows Alibaba’s partnership announcement with the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in March this year to work jointly to enable Malaysian small and medium- sized enterprises to benefit from global trade. The Electronic World Trade Platform, or eWTP, forms part of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) spearheaded by MDEC.
“I’m truly amazed by the resolve and commitment of the Malaysian government to remove all the barriers in just under a year to make this day possible,” said Ma at the event. “Today we are witnessing a historic moment in Asia where one country has begun to use technology to enable its SMEs and young people to become more competitive on the world stage. As the eWTP hub in DFTZ commences operation, they will have the opportunity to global buy, global sell, global pay, global delivery and global travel. This is an opportunity for not just the small businesses and young people in Malaysia but across Asia.”
Prime Minister Najib said: “With the launch today and our early participation with eWTP, Malaysia is progressing its economic transformation vision and taking a step towards becoming the leading sourcing and fulfilment hub in Asia. Collaborating with Alibaba to develop the infrastructure freely available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the DFTZ, we have fundamentally improved the competitiveness of Malaysian firms on the global stage which will boost exports and bring wide reaching economic benefits to society.”
The global vision for eWTP is to lower trade barriers and provide more equitable access to markets for SMEs around the world, with private sector and governments working together. The eWTP initiative was accepted as a major policy recommendation of the Business 20 (B20) and officially included in the 2016 G20 Leaders’ Communique.
The various initiatives under eWTP include the launch of a Malaysia Pavilion on Alibaba.com to help promote quality Malaysian products to global buyers. A one-stop solution platform has been set up with an emphasis on providing export facilitation support to local SMEs, with services ranging from marketing and customs clearance, to streamlined permit application procedures and tax declaration and more.
As part of the initiative to support Malaysian SMEs with cloud computing needs, Alibaba Cloud opened a local data centre in Malaysia last week. As the first local public cloud platform in Malaysia, the new center will provide Malaysian enterprises a local choice to build their businesses and run their applications on a powerful, reliable and secure cloud platform.
Under the eWTP, the training of local talent is a core focus to ensure a sustainable ecosystem. Over 1,000 students from various Malaysian universities have participated in a range of B2B e-commerce curriculum and almost 140 faculty members have completed the Train the Trainers programme with the expectation that this continues and the talent pool grows significantly. Malaysia represents the successful launch of the first international eHub as part of the eWTP initiative and many local merchants will benefit from the trade facilitation services. In future, more eHubs will create the global network necessary to facilitate trade for small and medium enterprises around the world, Alibaba said.