Malaysia is Alibaba's gateway to ASEAN, says CEO

Malaysia is Alibaba's gateway to ASEAN, says CEO
Daniel says the regional hub in Malaysia is key for the company's global expansion, especially to Southeast Asia.
SHANGHAI: Alibaba Group CEO, Daniel Zhang says the Electronic World Wide Trade Platform (EWTP), a key part of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) in Sepang, is an important milestone in the company’s globalization strategy.

"We position the EWTP zone as a regional hub for Alibaba’s global expansion, especially to Southeast Asia," he says on the sidelines of Alibaba’s 11.11 Singles’ Day shopping festival here today.

He says the DFTZ will also be crucial in serving ASEAN for the “11.11” festival in coming years.

“I know a lot of people in Malaysia and in that region are actually big fans of this shopping festival.
“So how can we not only give them good products, but also good service? This is why we need a hub in Malaysia to cover the whole region,” he says.

Daniel also echoed the statements of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, on how the DFTZ is setting out to help Malaysian SMEs.

“What we want to do is to build up the infrastructure, especially logistics infrastructure in the region.

“[This is] to help the SMEs in Malaysia. Not only to sell through our EWTP network, but to the market in that region and other regions,” he says.

Daniel says the Chinese e-commerce giant is also open to the idea of increasing the presence of “11.11” in Malaysia every year.

“Malaysia is a very important market amongst ASEAN countries. A lot of Malaysian Chinese love Taobao.

“So how can we serve and localize the assortment and make people enjoy a better shopping experience? Going forward we’re going to do a lot more in Southeast Asia, but not only to promote Chinese products there, but also help local companies to grow via e-commerce,” he says.

Daniel was speaking to the media about an hour before the end of 2017’s 11.11, a record breaking festival which had surpassed last year’s sales volume in just over half the time.

As of 11.40pm, total sales from the festival was recorded at USD24.79 bil.

In 2016, sales of 11.11 Singles’ Day was more than 18 times than that of Amazon Prime Day and 2.5 times than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Totals sales from last year’s festival was USD17.8 bil.