Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Alibaba Group have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in support of rural vitalisation in China by promoting development of internet-plus economy to help modernise the agriculture sector with the aim of helping eliminate extreme poverty.

ADB will incorporate in its China projects new technology platforms to support the digital rural economy using Alibaba's strong technological expertise. "ADB and Alibaba each have unique resources and advantages they can use to support rural development, protect the urban and rural environment, improve the safety and quality of agricultural production, and increase farmers' incomes," said ADB Vice-President Ahmed M Saeed.

"We believe this cooperation will demonstrate how an international financial institution and a private sector leader can work together to address rural challenges using innovative approaches," he said in a statement.

The cooperation will focus on three areas: promoting smart farming and internet-plus agriculture technology applications in food and agriculture value chains; promoting ecological management through forest restoration, rural financial services, and crowd sourcing solutions to distribute funds to target beneficiaries; and digitising and generating rural solid waste value streams.

ADB is also embarking on a wider knowledge partnership with Alibaba to promote sharing of the latest internet-plus and agriculture technology applications to ADB's clients through events and meetings, consultations, training and capacity development for government personnel, publications and joint analytical work.

Alibaba Group, founded at Hangzhou in China, is a multinational conglomerate holding company specialising in e-commerce, retail, internet and technology.