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The Thai government is to cooperate with Alibaba on a range of initiatives to develop e-commerce in Thailand by providing training to SMEs and individuals and exploring ways to enhance the country's logistics capabilities to support Thailand 4.0 and Digital Economy strategies.

A letter of intent covering the cooperation was signed by Thailand's permanent secretary, Wiboonlasana Ruamraksathe, and Alibaba group president, Michael Evans during a visit to Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou, China by a delegation led by Thailand's deputy prime minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, and comprising senior government officials and representative of the private sector.

Jatusripitak said the visit represented a continuation of the bilateral talks between the Thai Prime Minister and Ma. 'In order to strengthen the competitiveness of Thailand's SMEs and help them succeed in an increasingly digital era, the prime minister had earlier assigned responsibilities to a taskforce made up of government agencies and private enterprises to work with Alibaba in a joint effort to lift the export capabilities of Thai businesses, starting from the grassroots and community level and extending to mid-tier businesses operating locally and SMEs hoping to engage in export trade,' he said.

The agreement covers four key areas, the first of which involves offering e-commerce training to 30,000 Thai SMEs to aid their access to both domestic and international e-commerce platforms. Alibaba and its majority owned e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia, Lazada Group, will help provide the training. They will also share their experience and expertise with the Thai government to help build Thailand's own National E-Commerce Platform.

Secondly, Thailand and Alibaba will collaborate on the creation of a nationwide People and Talent Development Program, which aims to train around 10,000 individuals so they can be proficient in digital technology.

The two sides will also work together to nurture software developers who will be given access to the China market via Alibaba Cloud's marketplace for their software apps creations. Also, senior government officials will receive training at the Thailand Digital Government Academy, initially on big data and artificial intelligence technologies. Alibaba and Lazada will jointly run a train-the-trainer program to groom e-commerce business coordinators who will in turn help SMEs establish their own online export capabilities.

Thirdly, Alibaba and Lazada will contribute to the development of the country's supply chain and logistics systems by sharing their experience and expertise with Thailand Post, in a bid to expand the coverage of domestic delivery services to all provinces across Thailand in 2017. Studies on Alibaba's inventory management systems and international e-commerce fulfillment services will also be undertaken by Thailand Post to gain insight into the establishment of bonded warehouses and fulfillment centers.

Lastly, Alibaba and the Thai government will explore cooperation opportunities under the Eastern Economic Corridor Development project and help establish Thailand as a hub of digital technology and regional data centers in Southeast Asia.