By THE NATION
The Thai Rice Flagship Store last week opened on Alibaba’s Tmall, one of a number of initiatives announced under a partnership between the government and Alibaba during a visit to Thailand by the company’s executive chairman Jack Ma.
Talks have been held on expanding the range of Thai farm produce offered on the platform, which targets Chinese consumers.
Sontirat said similar initiatives would be announced next month with other online trading giants, such as Amazon and eBay.
“We'll make this kind of arrangement with all the main websites in order to expand our sales worldwide,” he said.
“It's our main mission to push local businesses to enter the online channels with concrete action and joining up with Alibaba is one way to better promote the quality of Thai fruit.”
Aside from the official Thai rice store on Tmall, the strategic partnership with Alibaba includes investment to drive the development of Thailand’s digital economy and the Eastern Economic Corridor under the Thailand 4.0 policy.
Under this partnership, government agencies and business units of Alibaba will work closely in a number of areas, including e-commerce, digital logistics, tourism and training.
Ma told the media in Bangkok on Thursday that pre-orders of golden pillow durians on Tmall – the world’s largest third-party platform for brands and retailers - had topped 60,000 two days the launch of the store.
Addressing concerns that the higher demand from Chinese online buyers would jack up durian prices, Sontirat said that these higher prices would benefit the farmers.
He said shortages were unlikely as Thailand is expected to produce 750,000 tonnes of durian this year. The demand from Chinese buyers at 100 plantations in Thailand amounted to only 350 tonnes, the minister said.