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Thai e-retailers brace for Jack Ma's 'great durian road'

Alibaba offers fruit growers and farmers access to massive China market

Jack Ma, right, receives a durian from a Thai official in April in Bangkok. The co-founder of Alibaba Group Holding has signed $352.4 million in deals to expand his company in Thailand.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- At a seminar this month to forecast Thailand's two-way trade with China, the commerce minister, Sonthirat Sonthijirawong, hailed e-commerce as the business model that could propel the country to new heights.

If tapped well, Sonthirat said, online business will expand its share of bilateral trade between Thailand and its biggest trading partner, which is expected to hit $120 billion by 2020 -- a considerable rise from $73 billion last year.

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