KUALA LUMPUR -- Shares in logistics companies have been riding high since Alibaba Group Holding announced last month it was setting up warehousing facilities in Malaysia, the online transaction giant's first such move outside China.
Shares of Pos Malaysia, a unit of DRB-Hicom have gained 8.3% since the March 22 announcement to reach 4.96 ringgit on Thursday. Kenanga Research said the postal services operator's share price was being driven by news of the setting up of a Digital Free Trade Zone, or DFTZ, a Malaysian government initiative to create a virtual and physical space to drive e-commerce, with assistance from Alibaba.
Pos Malaysia has set aside 150 million ringgit ($33.8 million) to boost its parcel-processing facilities, including one being built at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the site of the DFTZ.
The investment comes as Pos Malaysia ties up with Hong Kong-based Tigers Logistics to offer "e-fulfillment" facilities in the Asia Pacific region. Under the deal, unveiled on Wednesday, Pos Malaysia will manage the entire supply chain process, including custom clearance and last-mile delivery, while Tigers will provide the e-fulfillment software and hardware.
Kenanga analyst Raymond Choo said the collaboration is "positive" for Pos Malaysia, since e-commerce revenue for the postal group is "gaining momentum," offsetting the decline in the traditional mail segment. Online business accounted for about 32% of the group's revenue in the first three quarters of the current fiscal year.
Courier services provider GD Express Carrier's share price rose to a five-year high of 2.14 ringgit on Thursday, gaining 8% since March 22.
Affin Hwang Capital said logistics players with total supply-chain management and last-mile delivery capacity will benefit from the DFTZ.
Shares in Tiong Nam Logistics, which provides cross-border trucking services, have been rising since the end of February, hitting a record 1.82 ringgit on Thursday. The logistics firm's dominance in warehouse capacity and trucking networks will position it to benefit from the e-commerce explosion in the country, Affin wrote in a research note on March 22.
Tiong Nam is expected to launch land delivery services to China this year, expanding its current footprints in Thailand and Laos.
Meanwhile, payment service provider GHL Systems said it had been appointed as payment agent for Alipay, a unit of Alibaba. Its shares have risen 38% since the Monday announcement, reaching 1.58 ringgit on Thursday.
Malaysia is the second country after Thailand served by GHL, which provides devices for payment acceptance for in-store use, as well as for online merchants. The roll-out in Malaysia will begin with physical merchants by the end of April.
Alipay is one of the largest mobile and online payment providers with over 400 million users.
In order to make Malaysia the logistics hub for Southeast Asia, Alibaba will introduce its Electronic World Trade Platform, or eWTP, which offers cross-border online trading infrastructure to connect small and medium-sized businesses to consumers in emerging markets.
The group already has a presence through Lazada, the online marketplace headquartered in Singapore, which was acquired for $1 billion last year.