Malaysia's Digital Free Trade Zone, which will be the world's first, will be launched later today by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pix) and Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma. Pix by Sairien Nafis

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Digital Free Trade Zone, which will be the world's first, will be launched later today by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma.

Najib said the zone will benefit entrepreneurs by offering a conducive environment for digital companies to carry out business-invigorating internet-based innovation and thus catalysing the Malaysian economy.

"The initiative is part of the recently-launched National E-commerce Strategic Roadmap, which aims to double the country's e-commerce growth from 10.8 per cent to 20.8 per cent by 2020.

"The growth of e-commerce is inevitable. At the moment, Asean contributes less than one per cent of global the e-commerce volume. I have announced that by the end of next year, we want to see cost of broadband halved, and internet connection speed doubled.

"To compete with the United States, Europe and China and to grow a new and vital sector of the economy, we need to embrace this trend. We need to embrace change and innovation," he said during the opening of the 2017 Global Transformation Forum, here today.

Ma, a recognised global leader in online and mobile commerce, has been appointed as Malaysia's digital economic adviser.

He will share his ideas and experience to spearhead Malaysia's economy through the development of the Digital Free Trade Zone.

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