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Thailand 4.0 rekindled by Alibaba investment

The e-commerce giant’s executive chairman, Jack Ma, was in Thailand this week and has become the first big name to support Thailand’s plan to upgrade its economy known as Thailand 4.0

Olivier Languepin

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Four Memorandums of Understanding were signed between Alibaba Group and the Industry Ministry and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

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They cover cooperation in skill development in e-commerce for small and medium-siezed Thai entrepreneurs; the development of digital talent and the creation of talent networking; promotion of digital tourism with the TAT cooperating with Alibaba’s leading online tourism firm, Fliggy.

The Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand (EECO) and other Thai Government entities signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with Alibaba Group covering four areas of collaboration, including investment in a Smart Digital Hub to boost regional and global trade through E-commerce.

Promoting the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)

The Thai Government is promoting the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development plan as one of the key measures to realise the Thailand 4.0 vision, which aims to help the country escape the middle-income trap, achieve sustainable growth and reduce income disparities.

The deal will see Alibaba attempt to connect Thai SMEs with its 500 million active users in the Chinese e-commerce market. In addition, as a part of Alibaba’s training collaboration with the Thai Government, SMEs across Thailand will be able to gain e-commerce knowledge and skills to start e-businesses, learning how to leverage the internet of develop their business.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said that Alibaba had decided to invest in smart digital hub project in the Eastern Economic Corridor because the company has confidence in the Thai economy and the government’s Thailand 4.0 policy.

He explained that the smart digital hub would link with all Thai SMEs, farm groups and OTOP groups so that they will have access to markets in China and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce and Alibaba Group have kicked off the launch of the Thai Rice Flagship Store in Alibaba’s Tmall.com, China’s largest online retailing website which has access to over 1.4 billion Chinese consumers.

The training collaboration will also see Alibaba Business School work to provide students in Thailand with opportunities to take part in various academic exchanges and courses offered in Hangzhou. China.

Durian price shoots up after sale on Alibaba’s Tmall

Ms Charin Sirkkarn, a purchashing officer of Superfruit Thailand, a Thai company selected by Alibaba to export durian to China, admitted that she was surprised with the unusually quick and substantial online purchase of durian by Chinese consumers on the first day of the launch of the online sale.

During Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma’s visit to Thailand on April 19, the Ministry of Commerce and Alibaba Group have launched Thai durian sale campaign in Alibaba’s Tmall, China’s largest online retailing website which has access to over 1.4 billion Chinese consumers.

There were about 60,000 pre-orders of durian after the launch of the online sale via Tmall.com on Thursday (April 19). But critics said it was unclear whether Thai durian growers and other farmers would gain from Alibaba’s bigger presence in Thailand.

According to some experts, the hype over Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s big bet on Thai market, and its huge Tmall online platform was only made possible and welcomed because of Thailand’s fundamental weaknesses in embracing the digital technology and lack of digital skills.

 

 

Ecommerce

How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

Oxford Business Group

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How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability

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A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.

The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.

Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.

In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.

While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.

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Tech

How the Rural-Urban Divide Plays Out on Digital Platforms

It is one thing for entrepreneurs, whether urban or rural, to create and operate an online store, as some digital platforms have made it relatively easy to manage an e-store – even by using just a smartphone.

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In the West, villages are emptying out due to the lack of economic opportunities. Consider Italy where, in a bid to attract newcomers, a handful of municipalities have turned to selling houses for €1.

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Ecommerce

Will South-east Asia’s tech giants turn to SPACs to boost post-pandemic growth?

Oxford Business Group

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Will South-east Asia’s tech giants turn to SPACs to boost post-pandemic growth?
– SPACs have become a hot-button topic in global finance
– The vehicle is widely used to help tech start-ups go public
– Both Singapore’s and Indonesia’s exchanges are set to allow SPACs
– Several South-east Asian tech unicorns may use SPACs to list publicly

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South-east Asia is seeing a wave of interest in special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, with various major tech players considering them as a means to fast-track public listings. In parallel to this, several exchanges in the region are moving to allow SPAC listings, with a view to boosting post-coronavirus growth.

SPACs are shell companies set up by investors and then listed on a given stock exchange. Their sole function is to acquire a private company, enabling it to go public without having to go through a traditional initial public offering (IPO).

A SPAC does nothing beyond its essential function – it neither produces nor sells anything, and a SPAC’s only assets are the funds raised from its own IPO.

Crucially, people who buy into a SPAC do not know what its eventual acquisition target or targets will be. This is why SPACs are often referred to as “blank cheque companies”: they give the founders a free rein to back their choice of private company. A key feature of SPACs is that they are often headed by big-name business executives or fund managers, who trade on past successes to inspire trust in investors.

While they are far from a novel phenomenon, SPACs have become a hot button topic in recent times: SPAC initial offerings quadrupled last year, with the vehicles raising a record $80bn.

Merging with a SPAC enables a company to go public and raise capital more quickly and painlessly than with a traditional IPO, circumventing some of the volatility that Covid-19 unleashed on global markets. At the same time, they function rather like venture capital, helping investors to buy into high-growth start-ups on the ground floor.

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