Malaysia Appoints Alibaba's Jack Ma as Its Digital Economy Advisor

Published by Mila Ismail @ 07/11/2016

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak with Jack Ma during his visit in China. (Photo credit: BERNAMA)

Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced the appointment of China's digital commerce giant Alibaba Group's founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma as the nation's digital economy advisor. The announcement was made during the launch of the Alitrip Malaysia Tourism Pavilion, an e-commerce platform for tourism in Beijing last Friday.

Najib, who is in China for a six-day official visit, said as a global e-commerce icon, Jack Ma could assist Malaysia in the packaging of digital economy, which is accounted for 16% of Malaysia's GDP and expected to rise in coming years.

One of the projects the government will be tapping on Jack Ma's expertise is the Digital Trade Zone, which will be launched jointly with the new advisor in March next year.

The Digital Trade Zone is described as a merge of physical and virtual zones, with additional online and digital services to facilitate international e-commerce and empower internet-based innovation. The setting up of the Digital Trade Zone was unveiled by Najib in his Budget 2017 speech, together with the Digital Maker Movement and the Malaysia Digital Hub with the aim to help nurture talents and create innovators to build a fully sustainable digital economy.

The Prime Minister also had voiced out his hopes for Jack Ma to help in connecting Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through its online portal to China's market.

Besides Jack Ma, the Prime Minister is also in talks with China's Wanda Group and Tencent Holdings owners on their participation in the development of Malaysia's digital economy.

Wanda Group is China's largest commercial property company and the world's largest cinema chain operator, while Tencent Holdings is a leading provider of Internet valued-added services in China.