Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) just made another move towards global expansion.
Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak stopped by Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou during a six-day trip to China and signed an agreement with Alibaba's Executive Chairman and founder Jack Ma to cooperate on e-commerce initiatives.
Alibaba will provide training to 30,000 small and medium-sized Thai enterprises and 10,000 Thai individuals in digital technology while also helping to enhance the supply chain and logistics capabilities in Thailand, the company said in a statement Thursday.
The collaboration comes on the heels of Alibaba's digital payment arm Ant Financial's November investments in Thailand's Ascend Money, which offers e-payment services and micro-loans to customers who are underserved by big financial firms.
Ant Financial's investment in Ascend Money is expected to open more doors to the broader Southeast Asian market for Alibaba, which has already taken a majority stake in Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada Group in April. The $1 billion deal to purchase a majority stake in Lazada is Alibaba's biggest overseas investment to date.
As Alibaba strengthens its dominance in its home market of China, the company's ambition for international expansion is increasing. Despite being plagued by scandals of selling fake items on its Taobao and Tmall platform, Alibaba has maintained a lead against local competitor JD.com (JD) while fighting an intense battle for market share with Amazon (AMZN) in India.
Among Southeast Asian countries, Thailand has a particularly booming e-commerce industry which is likely to see double digit growth, according to a recent study from Bain & Co. In a fragmented and still underdeveloped e-commerce market, consumers in Thailand have been using social media platforms such Facebook's (FB) Instagram and Line (LINE) to discover products and shop online. A government sponsored e-payment system aimed at transforming the country into a cashless society is also likely to spur the e-commerce growth in the country.