Jack Ma’s views on the strategic partnership between the Government of Thailand and Alibaba | Techsauce
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Jack Ma’s views on the strategic partnership between the Government of Thailand and Alibaba8 min read

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Posted date April 19, 2018

Techsauce was extremely fortunate to be able to attend the close-door MOUs Signing Ceremony, signifying a strategic partnership between the Government of Thailand and Alibaba.

Below is a full transcript of Jack Ma’s speech given at the event.

“Alibaba hopes to use innovation and technology to help Thailand SMEs developed products that can be introduced to the world market. We believe that in the years to come, 80% of the businesses in the world will be on an online platform or digital infrastructure. In the next 5 years, China will seek to provide opportunities for Thailand to introduce their Thailand-based products to the whole world.

Under the Thailand 4.2 initiative, Alibaba will utilize our technological infrastructure and digital capabilities to help SMEs in Asia advance to be on par or even better than US SMEs. During the first industrial revolution, Europe leaded with the invention and implementation of Steam-based Engines. In the Second Industrial Revolution, US gain a lot with the introduction of mass automation. The next industrial revolution is already here, Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning. This time round, It will be Asia that will stand to gain given the cloud infrastructure and technological breakthroughs that Alibaba has seen.

Alibaba’s goal is to be sustainable, we hope to educate the world on the good that new forms of technology can bring. Hence, that was why the Thailand Government and I spent 8 long months discussing on a possible collaboration to help Thailand’s people and economy. I told my team from Alibaba that with my confidence in Thailand, our investments will be serious and long term. We always look into the future and the long-term plans in any of our investments. I believe that deep down, we all have a common goal, which is our belief that the world economy will gain from our forms of partnerships.

In the past, Goods were made separately, they were solely “Made in China”, or solely “Made in Thailand”. In the future, Goods will be “Made in the Internet” instead.

In the past, transactions were B2C (Business to Consumer). In the future transactions will be C2B (Consumer to Business). The great thing about Thailand is that the people offer the best services in the world, with their people being highly customer-centric. Unfortunately, challenges will always be there. Thus, men will need to innovate and create constantly. Today’s problems might have been created yesterday but it’s up to us to solve them. It’s up to us to help the SMEs grow. The future belongs to the ones who can imagine it, the ones who are not afraid to picture a utopia future. It belongs to the next generation of aspiring entrepreneurs and young start-ups.

Today, Thailand’s main revenue might come from agriculture. But in the future, my dreams and aspirations would be for Thailand’s revenue to come from everything that is from Thailand. Starting is always hard, but we will work hard to make Thailand proud, Alibaba is honored and privileged to collaborate with Thailand on Thailand’s 4.2 Initiative. Rest assure that we will not let Thailand or their people down.

Q & A Session

How do you convince Thai People that the partnership will be a win-win solution for everyone?

Jack: I believe it is a win-win-win solution for all. The first win is the consumer, the second win is our partner (the Thailand Government), the third win is Alibaba. The reason why Alibaba became successful was because of the success of young people. And with the Thailand Government, they are doing the same thing. When they talk to young people, all they care about is how Alibaba can help small businesses and young people. People worry that with Alibaba coming to Thailand, are we going to occupy Thailand, are we going to take over Thailand? The answer is no, we are not interested in that. We are interested in helping and enabling entrepreneurs and partners in Thailand, making sure our partners and entrepreneurs in Thailand to be successful. Alibaba believes that only when our partners are successful will we become successful too.

What can be replicated from Alibaba’s partnership with Malaysia, to Alibaba’s partnership with Thailand?

Jack: I think that many people are coming to Thailand in recent years, especially Chinese people. There are over 11 million people of Chinese Ethnic currently based in Thailand and I truly believe that they are here because of what Thailand has to offer. There are so many products in the agriculture sector that can be exported out of Thailand. Our purpose of coming to Thailand is to go to China and go to Thailand. Go to China means, we want Thailand products to be exported to China. China will have 500 million people in the middle class in 15 years’ time. They need great products that Thailand can offer.

Go to Thailand means to bring more China tourists to Thailand to improve Thailand’s tourism economy. Another thing we are interested in when we say we want to go to Thailand is to train up developers in Thailand. We will start up training schools where Thai people can build up their digital capabilities with Alibaba, so that they can contribute to Thailand’s future digital economy.

How will China’s open-door policy affect the partnership between Alibaba and the Thailand Government?

Jack: I actually think it is a good thing, it will boost the alliance between Alibaba and the Thailand Government. Alibaba will act as a bridge for Thailand to access markets overseas. And China’s market is one of the biggest and most powerful markets in the world, where Thailand will gain greatly from accessing China’s market.

Could you confirm that Alibaba is looking into developing self-driving automotive vehicles, could you share your motivations from switching from E-commerce to other industries.

Jack: We are interested in changing and improving the world, instead of making money. Money does not advance humanity. 30% of Alibaba resources are used to support E-commerce infrastructure. The other 70% are used to support futuristic businesses such as developing the automobiles of tomorrow.

Alibaba is moving into the automobile industry because in the future, I believe that our children will be working for 3-4 hours a day, 3 to 4 days a week. With almost everything predicted to be automated, most of a person’s time will be spent in the car traveling, a car will be a lifetime partner for an individual.

What made you decide to work with the Thai Government?

Jack: Alibaba wants to work with SMEs, the small businesses looking to help the economy, the little guys who are looking to make a decent living. Alibaba is also very honored to work with the Thai Government. What we need is not money, money is not an issue. What we need is the commitment and the vision of the government. The policies should be given to SMEs to export products instead of letting Alibaba export products and gain all the profits. We go to places where there are young people and SMEs because the big companies don’t need us. For small companies, we think we can help.

How could the EWTP (Electronic World Trade Platform) be threaten, in a way that Alibaba might end up to monopolizing other economies?

Jack: It is difficult to end wars, war is no good for nobody, we believe in free trade, we believe in improving trade activities, we want to make sure trade will only become more inclusive. I personally do not think the trade war will happen, business people want to make trade sustainable. Politicians are the ones who started these trade wars. You can solve politics with trade, but you cannot solve trade with politics. Let me say first, I don’t like trade war. Whatever you do, people will always suspect. As long as you are in business, people always criticize and suspect you, the good thing is that Jack Ma and his team do not care about these criticisms. What we care about is the world that we envision to be in the future, the world that we are working towards together, to make it a reality. EWTP is to make the world more sustainable. We want to share the goods of this world. We come to this world to enjoy ourselves and make others enjoy their lives too. We will continue to promote free trade. We will continue to promote globalization.

Do you have similar partnerships or collaborations with other countries in any other regions?

Jack: Firstly, the goal of Alibaba is to globalize E-commerce infrastructure, to make sure that every young person can leverage on it. When we went to Malaysia, we saw that Malaysia had the same vision of supporting their farmers. It was an instance click for us, we developed chemistry.

In Asia, the government means a lot. In Europe, the government is very weak in the eyes of the crowd. Alibaba was born in Asia, but we are built for the world. Money is not a problem for us. We have committed many things to Thailand. Logistics, infrastructure, exporting and importing, tourism, payment, we committed all of it. Time commitment however is a big issue for Alibaba. It is the things that cannot be seen such as time, that we have committed to Thailand.

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