Alibaba has established itself as a key partner of the Thailand government in a modernization effort dubbed Thailand 4.0. There are several components to the wide-ranging partnership, with Alibaba announcing that it will work with Thai government agencies across the areas of e-commerce, tourism, training, and ‘digital logistics.’
With respect to the latter, Alibaba says its Cainiao Network business will establish a ‘Smart Digital Hub’ aimed at optimizing trade flows between China and three provinces that are part of Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), as well as other markets. Its operations are expected to commence next year.
In another component of the partnership, the Alibaba Business School will team up with the Thai Ministry of Industry’s Department of Industrial Promotion and the Thai Ministry of Commerce’s Department of International Trade Promotion to train SME entrepreneurs in e-commerce. And as for tourism efforts, Alibaba’s online travel business, Fliggy, will work with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to develop digital tourism solutions such as digital tour guides, while Fliggy and Alipay operator Ant Financial “are in active discussions with various related government agencies to drive a holistic digital transformation to Thai tourism starting from pre-departure visa and visa-on-arrival application and payment to post-travel digital service with tourist tax refund via Alipay system,” according to a statement from Alibaba.
That last effort hints at the implications of the partnership for the Alipay digital payments platform, which is poised to become an integral component of the Thailand 4.0 infrastructure that is now starting to take shape.