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The Mall is optimistic about traditional Thai retail

But its chairwoman wants a partner to help fend off e-commerce giants

The Mall Group Chairwoman Supaluck Umpujh

The chairwoman of The Mall Group, Thailand's second-largest retailer, is on the lookout for a "strategic partner" to help fend off global e-commerce giants Alibaba Group Holding and in Southeast Asia.

Supaluck Umpujh said that she feels "paranoid" about the situation, which she likened to "a third world war" -- with brick-and-mortar stores on one side and e-tailers on the other. At the same time, she stressed the importance of choosing allies wisely.

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