Alibaba expands presence in Malaysia with new country office

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"We consider this a shining symbol of China-Malaysia friendship that is based on mutual respect and benefits that augurs well for the cooperation on the part of governments, businesses and people from both countries," Lim added.

Ma also announced the launch of Malaysia Week in July to promote a broad range of Malaysian products and services to Chinese consumers.

Ma, whose eWTP forms part of the Malaysian Digital Free Trade Zone plan, also weighed in on effect the change of government will have on Alibaba's business in Malaysia. He said he is very confident in China-Malaysia relationship and in the Chinese business community coming to Malaysia to invest.

Alibaba, having already established the first international eHub under the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative, aims to use the office to better serve the needs of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and help the new Malaysian government train more young talents, said Jack Ma, Alibaba founder and executive chairman at the launch ceremony.

"As long as we believe the future, as long as we believe the partnership, as long as we believe that we can work together, we can solve our problems," said Ma, adding his vision for globalization is that any company coming to Malaysia need to follow the rule of law, respect culture, create values and create jobs.

In an interview before the ceremony, Ma told Xinhua that Alibaba plans to deepen its localization in Malaysia, and in the process it will hire more local people, perhaps more than 1,000 in the future.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, when delivering his congratulatory speech at the ceremony, said he welcomed Alibaba's continued commitment to Malaysia. "I appreciate its eagerness to work with the new Federal Government to help spur new investments, create new jobs and economic opportunities for Malaysia," he said.

Alibaba has been expanding its presence in Malaysia in recent years. Aside from eWTP, Alibaba also established a Cloud computing data center, brought its mobile payment service Alipay and have trained thousands of individuals, entrepreneurs and cloud computing professionals under various programs.

During the meeting, which lasted for about an hour, Mahathir said he welcomes Alibaba to come to Malaysia and train more people in the digital age.

Jack Ma, Alibaba founder and executive chairman, speaks at the opening ceremony of Alibaba Malaysia office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, June 18, 2018. Alibaba Group's new Malaysia office, also its first country office in Southeast Asia, came into operation on Monday, as the Chinese tech giant continues its overseas expansion in the Southeast Asian region. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

"I think Malaysia will love eWTP because it's the solution for Malaysia exporting, for Malaysia young people and small business, and the PM likes our idea about not coming here getting land and build construction without hiring local people. We are enabling people here," he said in the interview.

He said Alibaba's investment here in recent years has reached more than 5000 million U.S. dollars.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Alibaba Groups new Malaysia office, also its first country office in Southeast Asia, came into operation on Monday, as the Chinese tech giant continues its overseas expansion in the Southeast Asian region.

Before the ceremony, Jack Ma met with Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who took power after winning the May 9 election. "We had a good exchange of ideas on a wide range of subjects," Mahathir said in a twitter post after the meeting.