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Indonesia asks Alibaba's Jack Ma to advise its e-commerce development

JAKARTA/BEIJING, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Indonesia has asked the chairman of China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Jack Ma, to act as adviser in the development of the Southeast Asian country’s nascent e-commerce industry, according to a video released by the government.

Indonesia has the world’s fourth-largest population, boasting a young, internet-savvy demographic, and a thriving e-commerce market that is increasingly attracting global investors.

Earlier this year, Alibaba bought a controlling stake in Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada Group for around $1 billion, while a group of investors led by private equity firms KKR & Co LP and Warburg Pincus LLC poured more than $550 million into Indonesian ride-hailing start-up Go-Jek.

To promote growth in the e-commerce industry, the government is setting up a “steering committee” consisting of 10 ministers for which it has asked Alibaba’s Ma to be an adviser, Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara said.

“The thinking behind this is to make Indonesia’s positioning in the international marketplace more prominent,” Rudiantara said in a video released by the state secretariat. The minister, like many Indonesians, only uses one name.

Rudiantara is part of President Joko Widodo’s delegation attending the G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

An Alibaba spokeswoman confirmed that Ma was asked to be adviser to Indonesia’s e-commerce steering committee, but declined to say whether he had accepted the offer. (Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy in JAKARTA and Paul Carsten in BEIJING; Writing by Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Christopher Cushing)