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Indonesia Wants Alibaba Founder Jack Ma to Be Its Ecommerce Adviser

September 5, 2016

2016 Boao Forum For Asia2016 Boao Forum For Asia
Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma speaking during the Boao Forum For Asia on March 23, 2016. Photograph by VCG via Getty Images

Indonesia has asked the chairman of China’s Alibaba Group Holding, Jack Ma, to act as adviser in the development of the Southeast Asian country’s nascent e-commerce industry, according to a video released by the government.

Indonesia has the world’s fourth-largest population, boasting a young, internet-savvy demographic, and a thriving e-commerce market that is increasingly attracting global investors.

Earlier this year, Alibaba (BABA) bought a controlling stake in Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada Group for around $1 billion, while a group of investors led by private equity firms KKR & Co and Warburg Pincus poured more than $550 million into Indonesian ride-hailing start-up Go-Jek.


To promote growth in the e-commerce industry, the government is setting up a “steering committee” consisting of 10 ministers for which it has asked Alibaba’s Ma to be an adviser, Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara said.

“The thinking behind this is to make Indonesia’s positioning in the international marketplace more prominent,” Rudiantara said in a video released by the state secretariat. The minister, like many Indonesians, only uses one name.

Rudiantara is part of President Joko Widodo’s delegation attending the G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

An Alibaba spokeswoman confirmed that Ma was asked to be adviser to Indonesia’s e-commerce steering committee, but declined to say whether he had accepted the offer.