Somkid reaches out to Jack Ma to push Thai tourism

Economy November 07, 2018 01:00

By The Nation

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Thailand has beefed up its cooperation with Alibaba co-founder and chaiman Jack Ma to help promote the country’s tourism online in the hope of luring more Chinese to take trips to Thailand, while joining hands with the Chinese e-commerce giant for trade development.



Following discussions with the Chinese billionaire in Shanghai yesterday, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the Alibaba chief had acceded to the Thai request to help promote tourism through its online commerce empire, which can access a large number of Chinese.

Thailand will do a 20-second video promoting the country’s tourism as part of Alibaba’s online promotional campaign on November 11 and about 800 million Chinese are expected to view this online campaign.

Combined with the waiver of visa-on-arrival fees for Chinese tourists and for nationals of 20 other countries plus Taiwan, more tourists are expected to visit Thailand later this year.

“Alibaba is pleased to support Thailand’s tourism and now it is going to hold an activity for the single person day on November 11, asking us to do 20 seconds of a short presentation video. I may be the presenter of this video to gain Chinese tourists’ confidence on convenience and safety,” Somkid said.

Alibaba also confirmed it would invest more in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), as it wants to build up a logistics hub for products in Thailand and the region, apart from its planned human resources development and training centre. The Chinese e-commerce giant is seeking a plot of land in the EEC.

After Ma spoke of Alibaba’s need for Thai fruits ranging from mangosteen, mango and others, aside from durian, Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said he had asked the Chinese e-commerce giant to inform about the types of products, specifications and the quantities needed in detail so that an annual plan could be drafted to direct effective production and sourcing through contract farming.

Alibaba has been sourcing high-potential Thai products and helping Thai operators export to China. Three groups of potential Thai products are: agricultural and agro-industry products – fruits and processed fruits, fruit juice, frozen seafood, broken rice, nuts, coconut oil and snacks; electronics and computer parts and raw materials – plastic pellets; and lifestyle products – textiles, nano fabrics, sportswear, cotton and woven fabrics, wooden furniture and leather products.

In mid-2017, Alibaba Group decided to make a Bt11-billion investment, including a digital platform, distribution centre and transportation joining hands with Thailand Post, IT investment, automation and robot systems for small and medium enterprises and joint digital human resources development and business promotion through e-commerce, in the EEC’s smart digital hub.

According to Sontirat, Alibaba is ready to help train Thai officials who will develop Thai business operators through online trade and technology. Alibaba has a business development centre – Taobao Village Model.

Soon, Thailand will dispatch its team of 15-20 members from the Commerce Ministry’s Department of Business Development, the Interior Ministry’s Community Development Department and the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry’s Cooperative Promotion Department for in-depth learning from Alibaba on the development of a logistics network to carry products from local areas to consumers.