Thailand Inaugurates First Digital Free Trade Hub

February 2023

Thailand has inaugurated its first digital free trade hub as part of a collaboration with Alibaba aimed at enhancing the logistics and e-commerce sectors. The hub is a free trade area located in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and is meant to facilitate cross-border e-commerce between Thailand and China.

The Smart Digital Hub is a zone of 40,000 square meters that benefits from special rules allowing Thai and Chinese consumers to buy products from each other’s markets more easily and quickly.

The hub offers both expedited customs procedures and physical proximity to expedite trade. It is expected that warehouses to be fully automated and that the time needed for Thai consumers to receive cross-border e-commerce orders from China will be reduced from 10 days to 3 days.

The digital free trade hub came into operation on December 8, 2022. It gained extra international attention following its launch when Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, visited the country in January 2023, making a rare public appearance.

The project initially began in 2018, when Alibaba committed to investing USD 302.8 million to develop the hub. It was initially supposed to be fully operational by 2019, but its launch was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

(Sources: Thailand Business News; Bangkok Post)

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