Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma visited Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at his office in Putrajaya on Monday, 18 June
During their one-hour meeting, Mahathir and Ma shared many ideas with each other on how to lift Malaysians out of poverty and support more young people and small businesses, reported Bernama.
"It was a very good meeting," Ma said, adding that he was 'surprised' by Mahathir's knowledge in technology. "Ninety-three years old but he knows so much about technology. After talking to him, I should read more books," he said.
It was reported that Ma also met with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng over an informal dinner on Sunday night.
Ma came to Malaysia to launch Alibaba's first Southeast Asia office, which was done later that day in Bangsar South, KL
During the opening ceremony, Ma revealed how the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) programme was what inspired him to start Alibaba Group.
MSC was first conceptualised by Mahathir in 1996 to drive digital transformation in Malaysia. Having read the news on MSC in 1997, Ma thought that it was a "genius idea".
"It crossed my mind then if Malaysia could do it, why not me?” he said, adding that Malaysia inspired him to create Alibaba, which started 19 years ago in Ma's apartment.
Driven to help the Malaysian economy, Ma added that the new Alibaba office in Malaysia will provide support and offer training programmes to assist young entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SME) in the digital economy.
During his visit, the Chinese tycoon also said that he hopes to enable Malaysians to become a cashless society
"Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told me during our meeting that he was amazed at the technology of the cashless society in India. It was Alibaba that assisted India to develop its e-commerce payment system Paytm," he said, reported The Star.
AliPay Ant Financial, a unit under China's e-commerce provider Alibaba Group, together with Touch 'n Go are currently working on making an e-wallet app (yet to be named) a reality in Malaysia, he said in an interview with Sin Chew Daily.
Ma emphasised that it is Alibaba's strategy to work with local partners to launch Malaysia's own e-wallet and logistics centre.
Catch up on other recent trending news on SAYS: