Jack Ma: Digital Free Trade Zone proof govts and businesses can work together

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KUALA LUMPUR: The world’s first Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) launched today is aimed at doubling the nation’s e-commerce growth and increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution to RM211 billion by 2020.

The DFTZ will provide physical and virtual zones to facilitate small medium enterprises (SMEs) to capitalise on the convergence of exponential growth of the internet economy and cross border e-commerce activities.

“Today is a special day for Malaysia as it launches the first such hub outside of China. Four months was a tight deadline but we have proven that we could make it happen,” said Najib before launching the digital hub, here, today.

Najib said Malaysia should aim for a double-digit growth from digital economy as trade is key to boost the country’s economic growth.

The event, which saw DFTZ’s launch by Najib and Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma, also witnessed the signing of four Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).

The exchanges include between Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Alibaba Group; Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd and Cainiao Network; Alipay and Maybank; Alipay and CIMB; as well as MDEC and Catcha Group.

Ma, who is also digital economy adviser to the Malaysian government and a strong proponent of globalisation, said DFTZ has proven that governments and businesses could work together.

By working with the government, businesses can do better and trade is about idea and culture exchange not just products. If the trade stops, war starts,” he said at the event.

Ma described Malaysia as “very business-friendly” and “more efficient than I thought”.

“DFTZ is the first hub specifically designed for small businesses and young people and we should have real policies and facilities to empower them,” he said.-NST

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