14 May 2020
As the global battle against Covid-19 continues, Alibaba Group, has reaffirmed its commitment to expand its logistics operations to support Covid-19 relief aid, and strengthen Malaysia as a leading trade and transshipment hub in the region. It has also announced the eWTP hub in KLIA as one of three international transshipment hubs across the world for the distribution of medical supplies, with the other two located in Belgium and Ethiopia.
The global network of eWTP regional hubs plays an essential role in the efficient distribution of the donated medical supplies worldwide. In this regard, the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation (The Foundations) have been playing active roles, globally.
The Foundations recently announced a donation of more than 100 million face masks and 1 million test kits to the World Health Organization (WHO). Alibaba will work closely with the WHO to leverage the eWTP Hubs at KLIA in Malaysia; at Liege in Belgium; and in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia; as well as UN facilities in other regions to efficiently distribute these needed medical supplies. In this process, Malaysia’s eWTP Hub will play a key role in the distribution of goods to the Asia-Pacific region.
Eric Jing, Alibaba Group Director and Executive Chairman of Ant Financial Services Group, said “At this challenging time, cooperation and technology are critical to our collective efforts to ensure health for all and to support economic recovery. We are grateful for our strong partnership with Malaysia and for the important role played by the regional eWTP Hub in distributing medical supplies and supporting cross-border trade.”
Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister of Communications and Multimedia said, “The establishment of the DFTZ in partnership with Alibaba to set up Alibaba’s first international eWTP Hub in Malyasa in 2017 has continued to play an important trade facilitation role especially in times of uncertainties and border closures brought about by events such as the Covid-19 outbreak.”
“The effort of global digital companies such as Alibaba to drive forward looking trade initiatives to support the Government’s measures to mitigate Covid-19 and to support the socio-economic recovery must be applauded,” he added.
DFTZ supporting e-commerce ambitions
Surina Shukri, CEO of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) said beside establishing Malaysia as the transshipment hub, the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) also aims to support Malaysia’s ecommerce aspiration as articulated in the country’s National E-commerce Strategic Roadmap, launched in 2016.
“In this Roadmap, the contribution of e-commerce to Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is targeted to be further increased by facilitating the digital transformation of SMEs, especially to adopt e-commerce, as well as by expanding exports through market access and promote national brand to boost cross border e-commerce.
Leo Chow, CEO of Lazada Malaysia, also emphasised that local SMEs are essential to the nation’s economic growth and recovery, noting that “We are doing our utmost to support Malaysian SMEs and consumers at this challenging time, and will continue to do our part to assist with economic recovery of Malaysia.”
That started on March 26, when The Foundations made a donation of 560,000 essential medical items to Malaysia, including face masks, test kits full-body protective suits and face shields that were delivered to National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) via the eWTP Hub at KLIA.
That same month, Alibaba’s eWTP hub at KLIA also served as a transshipment hub for a portion of medical supplies donated by the Foundations to Indonesia. The Foundations are now arranging a second round of donations to Asian countries including Malaysia. In this round of donations, Alibaba is planning to use the eWTP hub at KLIA to receive the donations for Malaysia, and to serve as a temporary storage and transshipment hub for a number of other countries in the region.
The Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has massively disrupted trade activities throughout the world, including the flow of relief aid and essential supplies. I want to thank the Foundations for their continued generous donations to Malaysia in these challenging times and welcome Alibaba’s initiative to expand their relief aid logistics operation here to benefit the region. In addition, I am encouraged that Alibaba has committed to increase its support to help grow the businesses and capabilities of our SMEs through targeted export and e-commerce activities.”
Alibaba’s measures to support SMEs and promote trade
Since the launch of its first international eWTP hub in Kuala Lumpur on 2017, Alibaba has asssisted Malaysian SMEs to find new markets overseas via its various ecommerce platforms, support the local development of digital payment through Ant Financial, enhance the tech capabilities of businesses with its cloud computing support, as well as having trained more than 15,000 digital talents locally.
- Alibaba’s Cainiao Smart Logistics business unit recently launched Hangzhou-KLIA chartered Cargo Flights to connect the two eWTP hubs, supporting continued trade of goods and flow of medical supplies. These flights will also continue to contribute to the position of Malaysia as a regional bub, boosting cross-border e-commerce trade as well as advancing the growth of the logistics industry in Malaysia
- With the aim to help SMEs in Malaysia, Alibaba’s flagship e-commerce platform in Malaysia, Lazada, launched a package to aid local SMEs from April to June 2020.
- Lazada’s “Pakej Kedai Pintar” stimulus package aims to help SMEs sell online and support the country’s economy. This initiative targets to help an estimated 50,000 local SMEs via a series of benefits, including: free shipping services, zero percent commission , waived payment fees, access to micro loan facilities, and dedicated Lazada University training.
- Lazada Malaysia also connected and brought vegetable, poultry farmers and fishermen to sell online. A Cameron Highlands farmer was able to sell 1.5 tonnes of vegetables a day for the first three days after going online.
- Lazada will launch “Jom Cari Kerja” online job fair in Mid-May to connect Malaysians to more than 1,000 job opportunities available in companies from various industries.
- Through its digital giving platform LazadaForGood, Lazada provides support for charity donations with all proceeds from the public donation being matched with an additional contribution of US$96,000 (RM415,000) by Lazada Malaysia. The donated amount will go to non-profit organisations (NGOs) including Mercy Malaysia, Malaysian Red Crescent Society, UNICEF, Hospis Malaysia, Protect & Save The Children and Zoo Negara.