PM: Alibaba quick to embrace 21st Century way of trading
BEIJING: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak began his working visit to China yesterday with a tour of China e-commerce giant Alibaba Group’s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, at the invitation of its founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma.
Upon his arrival in Hangzhou — 180km southwest of Shanghai — Najib, his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and his delegation were given a personal tour of the sprawling complex by Ma, who is also the digital economy adviser to the Malaysian government.
Alibaba, the world’s largest collection of e-commerce websites, is headquartered in Ma’s hometown.
The former teacher started the company from his Hangzhou apartment at Wen Yi West Road in 1999 and led it to the biggest-ever initial public offering in 2014.
The prime minister said yesterday he wanted to see for himself the success of Alibaba, which has created more than 36,000 jobs and changed the industrial ecosystem in China into one that is more dynamic and inclusive.
In his Facebook post, Najib said he was impressed with Alibaba’s achievements.
“They saw the future and were fast in embracing the new way to trade in this 21st Century. In just 13 years, their transactions have reached 3 trillion yuan, or close to RM1.9 trillion.
“During the Global Shopping Festival last year, Alibaba processed a peak of 175,000 orders per second.”
He said Malaysia could definitely learn from this.
“I am confident that our newly launched Digital Free Trade Zone will be the new hub for the digital economy, with more people, especially Malaysians, both in rural and urban areas, benefiting from it.”
Najib also received a courtesy call from Party Secretary of Zhejiang Province, Che Jun.
The prime minister arrived here yesterday evening for the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) on the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
He will join 27 other world leaders for BRF, the highest-level dialogue since the vision for the One Belt, One Road Initiative, or OBOR, was shared by Xi in 2013.
The initiative aims to redefine the global economy by integrating the economies of Europe, Asia and Africa through an unprecedentedly powerful network of transport and communications infrastructure.
Najib said the forum on May 14 and 15 was an important agenda in ensuring Malaysia reaped the benefits of the OBOR initiative, which could boost the nation’s economy through greater connectivity.
Najib will have meetings with Xi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang tomorrow ahead of the forum.
OBOR, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is China’s longterm vision for greater connectivity and cooperation among Asian economies.
Under the initiative are the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.