Sadie Keljikian, Stern Corporate Services Group

Jack Ma, Chinese billionaire and founder of Alibaba announced a joint venture with the Malaysian government to create a Digital Free Trade Zone last week. The plan is to create an international hub for warehousing, selling, and shipping goods online in Malaysia.

Plans for the hub were first announced in March and promises to handle $65 billion USD in goods once it’s up and running. Officials also say that the venture will create 60,000 jobs by 2025.

The new trade hub’s aim is to take advantage of the current ecommerce boom in Southeast Asia and provide businesses of all sizes with access to the wealth of international sales opportunities online.

Ma is enthusiastic about the hub in part because it is likely to benefit Alibaba-owned Lazada, the largest online marketplace in Southeast Asia. Lazada encompasses a combination of big brands and smaller, independent vendors. Although the hub will benefit large-scale e-retailers like Lazada, it is also designed to help smaller sellers extend their reach throughout Southeast Asia.

Alibaba gave a statement announcing that the facility will open in 2019 and be fully equipped for efficient storage, customs clearance, fulfillment, and warehousing.

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