Central JD vows B100bn EEC spend

Central JD vows B100bn EEC spend

Central JD Commerce Co, a joint venture between top Thai retailer Central Group and JD.com, the biggest e-commerce company in China, vows to invest up to 100 billion baht over the next three years in e-commerce, e-logistics, e-finance, e-marketing and technology.

JD.com chief executive Richard Liu and Central Group executives headed by chief executive Tos Chirathivat met Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday, pledging the joint venture would invest roughly 100 billion baht over three years and establish its head office in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

Some 17.5 billion baht is likely to be invested in the first year, with JD.com contributing half.

A clearer investment plan is expected by the end of this year.

Mr Liu told Gen Prayut the company is willing to help Thai farmers sell crops via e-commerce to Asean consumers and the world market, helping to raise farmers' income.

Gen Prayut said the investment of Central JD Commerce in the EEC will play a vital part in developing the Thai economy and enhancing the economic and social development of other countries in the region.

He said the joint venture will enhance Thailand's e-commerce development and digital development policy, conforming to the government's ambitious Thailand 4.0 initiative.

The venture also improves economic cooperation between Thailand and China.

The premier praised the company's intention to use technology to upgrade the competitiveness of Thai small and medium-sized enterprises and startups.

Yol Phokasub, Central Group president, said the joint venture will invest mainly in five core areas comprising e-commerce, e-logistics, e-finance, e-marketing and data and technology. Robotics, big data and drones particularly relate to the projects the EEC hopes to promote.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the venture is capable of helping Thai farmers because the company has expertise in e-commerce, logistics, fintech and drone technology.

The government should look to use the company's high technology to upgrade the Thai agricultural sector, said Mr Somkid.

"JD.com is the biggest e-commerce player in China, bigger than Alibaba," he said. "The company foresees Thailand's growth potential, which is why it decided to invest here."

As of June 30, JD.com has seven offices with 335 warehouses in China.

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