BEIJING — May 12, 2017: The Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) will be operational from early October, six months after the launch the Alibaba iCloud e-commerce platform.
For a start, 1,500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be chosen by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to participate in an online cross-border trade.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced this to Malaysian journalists here upon arrival from Hangzhou, where he met Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma and was briefed on the operations of Alibaba, the largest e-commerce giant in China.
With the start of the operations, the DFTZ will be first digital free zone of its kind outside China that is set to boost the growth of cross-border e-commerce by creating access to the hub of the city of Hangzhou in order to make inroads into China’s market.
Najib said a regional eFulfillment hub will be set up in Malaysia in October, with Alibaba housing the Alibaba iCloud platform for a big data platform for Southeast Asia. Najib has invited Ma, who is also the Malaysian government’s digital economy adviser, to participate in the launch.
He said Ma was amazed with the speed and commitment of the Malaysian government in making the decision to set up the DFTZ a reality.
“He (Jack Ma) is so positive about Malaysia because he kept on repeating that he’d got my agreement within 10 minutes to agree on the DFTZ.
“And I’d committed as well to make it a reality within three months and we did that,”‘ Najib said, adding that Ma had also described the Malaysian government as a super-efficient government.
“That’s a good testimony of somebody’s assessment about the Malaysian government’s ability to be very responsive and business friendly.”
Najib said the DFTZ was launched with various incentives offered to help small businesses expand their markets, mainly to the Chinese market.
While in Hangzhou, Najib witnessed the signing of an agreement between MDEC and the Hangzhou Municipal Government, as well as Alibaba (China) Company Limited, which is a partnership on an e-commerce platform like the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).
The eWTP platform is the brainchild of Ma and Alibaba in the quest to reduce trade barriers to facilitate SME involved in global trade.
On Alibaba iCloud, Najib said among the locations considered for it was Cyberjaya.
“The potential (of DFTZ) is enormous. I think the sky is the limit. Once we get this partnership going, and with so many things that we can do with Alibaba, it is just awesome,” Najib said.
Najib also presented an MSC (Multimedia Super Corridor)-status certificate from MDEC to Alibaba Cloud. — Bernama