By Gayatri Suroyo
NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – Jack Ma, executive chairman of China’s Alibaba (NYSE:) Group Holding, said on Saturday he plans to open an institute to train thousands of tech entrepreneurs in Indonesia, where he is already an adviser to the government on e-commerce.
Ma did not say when the Jack Ma Institute of Entrepreneurs would launch, but said the aim was to train 1,000 tech leaders a year over the next 10 years.
“We’re giving a lot of opportunities for young Indonesian people to learn,” Ma told reporters after meeting Indonesian ministers on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings being hosted by Indonesia.
The co-founder of Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce firm, said it is important for Indonesia to invest in human capital because “only when people improve, when people’s minds change, when people’s skills improve, then we can enter the digital period”.
Indonesia has a shortage of trained engineers in technology and the institute will also train hundreds of developers and engineers on cloud computing to help make Indonesian businesses more digital-savvy.
The country is a key market for Alibaba, whose cloud computing arm Alibaba Cloud launched a data center in Indonesia in March.
Ma said his company would continue to invest “not only on e-commerce, but also cloud computing, logistics and…infrastructure” in Indonesia, while also helping local businesses to grow.
Indonesian Communications Minister Rudiantara told Reuters in September that Indonesia was partnering with Ma to look into ways to harness Alibaba’s businesses to increase its exports, particularly to China.
McKinsey estimated in a report released on Aug. 30 that the value of Indonesia’s e-commerce market will surge to at least $55 billion (£42 billion) by 2022 from $8 billion in 2017.
On Friday, Ma told a panel discussion at the IMF and World Bank meetings that “the internet is designed for developing countries”, with “great opportunities in Africa” also.
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