Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma has confidence in Malaysia’s bilateral trade partnership with China and is unfazed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s plan to put some of the nation’s projects under scrutiny.
During his visit to Kuala Lumpur for the launch of Alibaba’s first Southeast Asian office on Monday (Jun 18), Ma addressed the buzz about the uncertainty of the relationship between the two countries and anxiety about matters pertaining to the internet and e-commerce, reported The Malay Mail.
“Many people worried about this, worried about that. I think worrying never solves problems,” said Ma.
He added that ongoing reviews conducted by the new government were beneficial and necessary to resolve Malaysia’s socio-economic problems.
“People say there are going to be reviews. So what? We, our company has reviews every quarter. We do reviews all the time to check what is right, what is wrong. But as long as we believe in the future, as long as we believe in the partnership, as long as we believe that we could work together to solve our problems.”
According to New Straits Times, Ma also expressed confidence in the government’s commitment to its policy of openness to foreign investments which would help create business value and job opportunities for locals.
He said: “I am very confident with the relationship between China and Malaysia. I am also confident of China’s business community coming to Malaysia to invest.”
Ma noted the end goal of any country as being able to digitalise its local partners and empower small businesses as well as young people to expand their reach globally. He said Alibaba had come to Malaysia to “serve the small business and its future” by enabling its partners and creating more jobs.
“Alibaba has created 36 million jobs in China. We come here to look for partners. We want to enable our partners and want them to be the local king.”
After observing Malaysia’s workforce which he described as talented, Ma said Alibaba would be keen to work with young Malaysians, highlighting the success of the corporate giant as hinging on the achievements of its partners.
He announced Alibaba’s intention to collaborate with its partners and the Malaysian government to train as many young people as possible while working with small businesses to utilise technology and empower Malaysians.
The launch of Alibaba’s national office in Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur, is seen as the first step towards deepening the country’s strategic collaboration with China to strengthen the technological capabilities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and young entrepreneurs.
“We decided to make this office the training centre for Malaysian people so that they can go out globally with us. By supporting young Malaysians, they can support our (Alibaba) growth globally in the future,” Ma said.
The training centre is said to be a platform for assisting SMEs and entrepreneurs to drive exports while at the same time offering extensive training programmes to help them leverage digital innovations and trade opportunities
The office will promote engagement with local partners, helping Malaysian businesses identify global cross-border trade opportunities and support technological innovation through the use of cloud computing services.
Essentially, the establishment would serve as a “one-stop solution centre” for local businesses.
Alibaba had previously launched its first international eHub in Malaysia in November 2017 under the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative, with a focus on facilitating exports and building infrastructure to support global trade.
It offers services which include e-commerce, logistics, cloud computing, mobile payment and talent training.
Other initiatives spearheaded by Alibaba in Malaysia include the establishment of the group’s first regional e-fulfilment hub in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Aeropolis Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) Park and Alibaba Cloud’s internet data centre.
Ma said: “All the young Malaysians, opportunity is in. When people complain, that is an opportunity. Solve the complaint, you will be successful. I think Alibaba story in Malaysia will be long. We will make this story together.”