Uttama: Alibaba to build e-commerce park in EEC
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has pledged to build an e-commerce park on 300 rai in Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to serve Asean's burgeoning e-commerce market, says Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana.
The park will serve as the centre of Alibaba's logistics operations in Asean, he said.
Alibaba Group expects to sign the project's first-phase contract with local developers in the third quarter of 2017, and start construction in the last quarter.
The second phase will include an R&D facility and a business development centre tailored to cater to small and medium-sized companies, Mr Uttama said.
"Alibaba's e-commerce park is expected to be fully completed in 2018," he said.
Mr Uttama, who is in talks with top-level executives of Alibaba subsidiary Lazada, said the group will give more details about the park's location and the value of its investment soon.
Alibaba earlier conducted feasibility studies for the park in five areas for EEC projects in Rayong, Chonburi and Chachoengsao.
"Alibaba is investing in the EEC because it is the most attractive investment project in Asean. Thailand is the region's most promising and best located e-commerce market in the region," said Mr Uttama.
He said Alibaba wants to use Thailand to penetrate the global market, and as a production base for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. It is also trying to develop local small and medium-sized enterprises to serve as a link in its supply chain.
The government recently allotted more than 18,000 rai for the EEC project -- adding to the 30,000 rai allocated in the past.
Mr Uttama said government agencies and local banks will meet on 12 July to support Thai SMEs' e-commerce market access.
"Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and I will speak with local banks to promote the role of SMEs," he said.