SHANGHAI • Alibaba Group expects to complete the construction of an e-commerce and logistics hub in Thailand by 2019, bringing the Internet behemoth one step closer to South-east Asian economies and its goal of shedding its reliance on the Chinese market.
Building of the park is on a "steady course" and marks the company's long-term investment in Thailand, Alibaba said in an e-mailed statement to China Daily.
Under an agreement with the Thai government last December, Alibaba vowed to help develop the country's e-commerce sector by providing training to small businesses and individuals, and exploring ways to enhance its logistics capabilities.
Alibaba said the hub is designed to provide a one-stop service connecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), manufacturers, service providers and logistic partners, complementing its existing investment in Lazada Group, a dominant regional e-commerce platform in which Alibaba holds a majority stake.
"We hope the park will empower Thailand's innovative Internet start-ups and boost the country's technology ecosystem," the statement added.
Under the agreement, Alibaba and its subsidiary Lazada will offer e-commerce training to 30,000 Thai SMEs to aid their access to both domestic and international e-commerce platforms and nurture software developers.
The deal also calls for Alibaba to advise the country's postal service, Thailand Post, on shipping and logistics.
The Chinese online giant is marching into a region on the cusp of a digital shopping boom fuelled by fast-growing mobile phone usage.
Consultancy eMarketer projects that Thailand's e-commerce sales, excluding travel, will grow at a rate exceeding 15 per cent annually over the next four years, reaching US$5.69 billion (S$7.9 billion) by 2020.
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK