• New recruits attend a training session at PT Tokopedia's offices in Jakarta, Indonesia.

New recruits attend a training session at PT Tokopedia's offices in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo : Getty Images)

Alibaba founder and CEO Jack Ma has been asked by the Indonesian government to become its adviser as the Southeast Asian country develops its emerging e-commerce industry, as shown in a video released by the Indonesia's State Secretariat.

An article published by Fortune said that an Alibaba spokeswoman has confirmed the offer to Ma, but did not say if the Chinese tycoon accepted the offer.

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As the world's fourth-largest population, Indonesia's active e-commerce market and Internet-savvy young people have attracted global investors.

Alibaba had acquired a major stake in Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada Group for around $1 billion earlier this year, while Indonesian ride-hailing startup Go-Jek received more than $550 million from a group of investors led by private equity firms KKR & Co and Warburg Pincus.

The country's Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara said that the government is further promoting the growth of its e-commerce industry by setting up a steering committee, comprised of 10 ministers, in which Jack Ma has been asked to become the adviser.

"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.

Rudiantara, is a member of President Joko Widodo's delegation, who attended the recent G20 summit in Hangzhou during the weekend.

As Alibaba may be obviously interested in the Indonesian e-commerce market, it would not be a surprise if Jack Ma accepts the offer as being a government advisor would allow him to have a direct influence on the country's e-commerce policy, an article by techinasia.com said.

However, it is not clear what role the Alibaba CEO would play, if he accepts the offer.

According to the article, Ma has to consider how China would react if he decides to help Indonesia. Some Chinese citizens made angry comments on the news story about the offer to Jack Ma, citing various grievances that included the 1998 riots in Indonesia against ethnic Chinese and the current dispute at the South China Sea. Some people however suggested that Ma should take the offer while others said he should simply ignore or reject the request.