Jakarta wants Ma as e-commerce adviser

JAKARTA/BEIJING • Indonesia has asked Mr Jack Ma, the chairman of China's Alibaba Group Holding, to act as adviser in the development of the South-east Asian country's nascent e-commerce industry, according to a video released by the government.

Indonesia has the world's fourth- largest population, boasting a young, Internet-savvy demographic and a thriving e-commerce market that is increasingly attracting global investors.

Earlier this year, Alibaba bought a controlling stake in South-east Asian online retailer Lazada Group for around US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion), while a group of investors led by private equity firms KKR & Co and Warburg Pincus poured more than US$550 million into Indonesian ride hailing start-up Go-Jek.

To promote growth in the e-commerce industry, the government is setting up a "steering committee" consisting of 10 ministers for which it has asked Mr Ma to be an adviser, Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara said.

"The thinking behind this is to make Indonesia's positioning in the international marketplace more prominent," Mr Rudiantara said in a video released by the state secretariat. The minister, like many Indonesians, uses only one name.

Mr Rudiantara is part of President Joko Widodo's delegation attending the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, China.

An Alibaba spokesman confirmed that Mr Ma has been asked to be adviser to Indonesia's e-commerce steering committee, but declined to say whether he had accepted the offer.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2016, with the headline 'Jakarta wants Ma as e-commerce adviser'. Subscribe