Jack Ma opens Malaysia’s ‘digital free trade zone’ with an eye to Southeast Asia’s ecommerce boom

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First announced in March, the Digital Free Trade Zone is now open to trade, with Malaysia’s government anticipating the joint venture with Alibaba will handle US$65 billion worth of goods once in full flow, and create 60,000 jobs by 2025. The aim is that smaller businesses – down to one-person online merchants – can make use of the trade hub as easily as larger companies. It’ll also be used for non-ecommerce purposes, such as for global exports

“Today we are witnessing a historic moment in Asia where one country has begun to use technology to enable its SMEs [small and medium-sized businesses] and young people to become more competitive on the world stage,” said Ma, founder and chairman of Alibaba, this afternoon. “This is an opportunity for not just the small businesses and young people in Malaysia but across Asia.”

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