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First Batch of 43 Thai Entrepreneurs Graduate from Alibaba Netpreneur Training 10-day immersion program in Alibaba’s headquarter city inspires participants to harness opportunities presented by the digital economy

          Alibaba Business School, the education arm of Alibaba Group, today announced the graduation of 43 Thai entrepreneurs from the inaugural edition of the Alibaba Netpreneur Training Thailand Program, jointly organized with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) and National Innovation Agency (NIA) of Thailand, as well as multinational venture capital firm Gobi Partners.
          Held from October 20 to 30, 2019 at Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou, China, the program aimed to enable entrepreneurs of traditional and digital businesses in Thailand to transform their operations and stay competitive in the digital era. The training initiative is also integral to Alibaba's multipronged approach to facilitating Thailand's digital transformation.
          Following an extensive selection process, 43 entrepreneurs were chosen from a wide range of industries such as trade, retail, manufacturing, enabling services, property, education, fintech and tourism to take part in the training, representing a mix of traditional businesses aspiring to transform digitally and digital businesses looking to fully harness the power of digital technology.
          Commenting on the completion of the first Thailand Program, Brian A. Wong, Vice President of Global Initiatives, Alibaba Group, said: "As we welcome the first batch of Thai graduates to the Netpreneur community, we feel grateful for the opportunity to share our first-hand experience of building a digital economy with these gifted, passionate entrepreneurs. The completion of this program is just the beginning – we hope our graduates will apply what they have learned and become digital drivers who will inspire more entrepreneurs and business owners to embrace the digital economy and build a more inclusive economy together."
          "We are honored to be part of the Netpreneur initiative and help cultivate a pool of entrepreneurs with a digital aspiration. The valuable lessons from the Alibaba ecosystem, coupled with opportunities to interact with industry experts and like-minded peers, have enlightened the participants on what the digital economy has to offer. We will continue to work closely with Alibaba Business School and other program partners to offer guidance and support as our graduates embark or carry on their digitization journey," said Dr. Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, President/CEO of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, depa.
          "NIA's mission is to support and develop Thailand's innovation system. NIA functions as the key engine driving national innovation. We are very delighted to co-create this program. The Netpreneur program was a wonderful opportunity to inspire a mindset change in our entrepreneurs. With an understanding of the thriving digital ecosystem started by Alibaba, they will definitely be better positioned to navigate the challenges in digital innovations. We look forward to seeing the pre-digital businesses in our program experience successful transformations and companies that are already digital achieve further breakthroughs when they return home to Thailand," said Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana, Executive Director from NIA.
          "The objectives of the Alibaba Netpreneur Training Program are in alignment with Gobi Partners' mission of empowering individuals to pursue their dreams of making the world a better place. We are keen to see more of these initiatives in Thailand, which will empower more entrepreneurs with great ideas to achieve their full potential through digital innovations and transform the larger economy for the better," remarked Shannon Kalayanamitr, Venture Partner, Gobi Partners.

          10-day immersion in China's digital ecosystem
          Participants of the Alibaba Netpreneur Training Thailand Program gained exposure to Alibaba's transformational journey from a small start-up to a digital ecosystem serving a global network of SMEs and consumers, as well as the mission, vision, value, strategy and culture that drive the company's growth. They also acquired insights into Alibaba's platform strategy and key business pillars as well as China's digital economy developments from interactive sessions with Alibaba business leaders and Alibaba's ecosystem partners.
          Site visits to an established e-commerce merchant, a livestreaming company, an e-commerce village and Alibaba's New Retail-powered grocery chain Freshippo were conducted, promoting the participants' understanding and appreciation of the opportunities that a well-developed digital ecosystem can bring to businesses, society and even the rural community.
          Speakers from Alibaba were joined by advisors from depa, NIA and Gobi Partners, who shared about the digital ecosystem in Thailand and how their respective organizations intend to support the participants moving forward.

          Netpreneurs inspired by the program
          "One of the most important key takeaways from the Netpreneur training is creating trust with customers as well as employees and partners. Without trust, you cannot build an ecosystem like Alibaba did. Most importantly, this program offered a valuable opportunity for Thai companies of different backgrounds to put all our problems on the table and discuss possible solutions. I was greatly inspired by the idea exchanges, my peers' initiatives, and now know more about what Thailand lacks and where we can go from here," said Pichaya Viwatrujirapong, Head of Business Development & Partnerships, Netbay Public Company Limited, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution provider for digital business services.
          "After joining this program, I am convinced that the more we as young entrepreneurs succeed, the more we should give back to the community. We should especially help people in rural areas live better by leveraging on technology to sell their products directly to consumers. Under the Thailand 4.0 policy, I believe there is a lot we can do," said Khaophot Thamphatanaporn, Co-founder of Hor Nok Hook Commerce Co., Ltd, a provider of a one-stop service solution for selling on Lazada's LazMall.

          Second Thailand program open for applications
          The Alibaba Netpreneur Training Thailand Program is Alibaba Business School's latest initiative to empower Thailand's digital economy and talent. Since 2017, Alibaba Business School, in collaboration with multiple partners, has offered a series of training programs targeting various sectors of Thailand's growing digital economy, including the New Economy Workshop for policy makers, the eFounders Fellowship program for ecosystem-building digital start-up founders, the Global eCommerce Talent (GET) program for aspiring local e-commerce trainers, public lectures under the Alibaba Global Course series, and other training programs for Thai business players.
          The second Thailand Program will be held in April 2020 and application will be open from November 2019 until February 2020. For more information on the program details including enrollment criteria, please visit: https://activity.alibaba.com/supplier/alibaba-netpreneur-training-thailand.html

          About Alibaba Group
          Alibaba Group's mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. For more information about Alibaba Group, please visit its Thai-language news portal AlibabaNews Thai (th.alibabanews.com/).

          About Alibaba Business School
          Alibaba Business School is a university established by the Alibaba Group and Hangzhou Normal University of China in October 2008. It is currently focused on implementing Alibaba Group's e-commerce training system, which has in the past decade nurtured millions of e-commerce practitioners and entrepreneurs, in China and overseas.

          About Digital Economy Promotion Agency
          Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) was established by virtue of the Digital Development for Economy and Society Act B.E. 2560 (A.D. 2017) promulgated on 23 January 2017. The agency aimed to support and promote the development of digital industry and innovation, support and promote digital technology adoption which benefit the national economy, society, culture, and security.

          About National Innovation Agency
          NIA, under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Thailand, is a significant agency responsible for promoting and supporting innovation including Innovative Startup Program, which provides support and assistance for entrepreneurs to start an innovation-based high growth business.

          About Gobi Partners
          Gobi Partners is one of the first venture capital firms with a regional presence across China, Hong Kong, and ASEAN with over US$1.1 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm, headquartered in Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur, supports entrepreneurs from the early to growth stages and focuses on emerging and underserved markets.
          Founded in 2002, Gobi has raised 13 funds to date, invested in over 250 startups, and has grown to ten offices across Bangkok, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. For more information, please visit www.gobivc.com