Simon Bridges attending opening of Alibaba Australasia Headquarters
The opening of Chinese giant Alibaba Group's Australia and New Zealand headquarters in Melbourne on Saturday is so significant a New Zealand government minister is going to it.
"Alibaba Group is the world's largest online and mobile marketplace and presents an enormous opportunity for New Zealand exporters to sell their products into the huge China market," Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges says.
He's attending the opening. China's second wealthiest man, Jack Ma, who built his fortune on Alibaba is the guest of honour.
The opening of the Australia and New Zealand headquarters follows last year's memorandum of understanding signed between New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Alibaba Group, which formalised discussions for strengthening trade between China and New Zealand.
China is New Zealand's second-biggest trading partner after Australia.
"We have all witnessed the rise of e-commerce platforms globally, but few countries have embraced e-commerce with the gusto shown by Chinese consumers," Mr Bridges said.
In the last year, China's e-commerce retail sales have grown 37 percent versus 11.3 percent in standard retail.
"With a population size of 1.4 billion and growing recognition and demand for Western brands, it is clear that e-commerce presents significant opportunities for our exporters. Alibaba is a key gateway to taking advantage of this," Mr Bridges said.