Cyberjaya, 15 May 2020 – 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.
The company has announced the electronic world trade platform (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.
As a result of communications with the Prime Minister’s office on March 26, 2020, the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation (The Foundations) together made a donation of 560,000 essential medical items to Malaysia, including face masks, test kits full-body protective suits and face shields, which were delivered to National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) via the eWTP Hub at KLIA.
Hub for medical supplies
In March this year, 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 said it 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 donation includes a total of nearly 80 tons of medical supplies, such as masks, testing kits, protective suits, face shields, gloves and ventilators, which will be shipped in several cargo flights from China.
It said on May 10 and 11, these shipments began arriving at KLIA, and more will follow in the coming weeks.
For contribution to Malaysia, NADMA has been entrusted to distribute the supplies throughout the nation.
In this case, the global network of eWTP regional hubs plays an essentiall role in the efficient distribution of the donated medical supplies worldwide. The Foundations have also recently announced a further donation of more than 100 million face masks and 1 million test kits to the World Health Organization.
Alibaba said it 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.
Helping to grow businesses
Prime Minister Tan Sri 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,” he added.
Meanwhile, Alibaba Group Director and Executive Chairman of Ant Financial Services Group, Eric Jing, 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,” he said.
Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the establishment of the DFTZ in partnership with Alibaba to set up Alibaba’s first international eWTP Hub in Malaysia 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 said.
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) CEO Surina Shukri said beside establishing Malaysia as the transshipment hub, the 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.
Lazada Malaysia’s CEO Leo Chow 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.”
Alibaba’s measures to support local SMEs
Since the launch of its first international eWTP hub in Kuala Lumpur, 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.
During this period of economic slowdown, Alibaba’s Cainiao Smart Logistics business unit 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.
-New Straits Times