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While Southeast Asia is opening up to online commerce, Alibaba decides to invest in Thailand to secure the market.

 Alibaba has agreed to increase its investments in Thailand so that its opponents cannot take more market. What may seem like an unequal agreement – Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he asked Jack Ma to help Thailand increase exports of rice, palm oil and rubber and help farm workers – it’s actually a precise choice by Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group.

Going specifically, Jack Ma signed several agreements, including one to help set up a “smart digital hub” in a showcase project called the Eastern Economic Corridor, to facilitate trade between Thailand, China, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The amount of investment involved would be determined later, but for Thai media Alibaba plans to invest 11 billion Thai baht (US$350 million)

The benefits seem to be there for both parties. Alibaba should complete a Hub for research and development and Thailand should have, according to Prayuth, new logistics systems to accelerate the delivery of agricultural products, obviously signed Alibaba.
 
Prayuth said: “Therefore, this is beneficial to Thailand. Don’t think of this as being disadvantageous for Thailand”.
 
According to the Thai government, Alibaba also plans to help Thai entrepreneurs and small businesses in e-commerce and to create an online tourism platform, which derive much of the region’s profits.

Moreover, South East Asia is not just for Alibaba, but also for Amazon. In fact, this region is expanding economically and e-commerce still accounts for less than 3% of retail sales in the region. Not to mention that the region has 600 million people.

If the future developments of Southeast Asia’s economy can not yet be known, it is certain that Alibaba is interested and very present. For example, Alibaba announced its probable investment of an additional $ 2 billion in the Lazada Group onlinesales group, doubling its stake in the company.