Alibaba ramping up business in Australia & NZ

Alibaba listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, with chief executive Jack Ma claiming it was the largest initial ...
BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS

Alibaba listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, with chief executive Jack Ma claiming it was the largest initial public offering in the world

Chinese internet giant Alibaba is growing its business in Australia and New Zealand, with plans to open an office in Melbourne at the end of this year.

Countdown, Healtheries and Comvita are among the New Zealand businesses using Alibaba to open the door to the enormous Chinese consumer market.

The company is known for its e-commerce platforms and also for pulling in the big figures: in 2014 it completed the biggest ever initial public offering in the United States at US$25 billion (NZ$35 billion). 

It also raked in US$14.3b during China's holiday for singles, called Singles Day, where single people treat themselves to gifts. 

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The company itself is worth US$200b.

Alibaba's platforms are used by a number of Australian merchants to sell products to more than 400 million active buyers inside China, according to the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

Australia was apparently the fifth biggest selling country on Singles Day.

Alibaba global president Michael Evans told the AFR that the company had half a million consumers in Australia and it would be looking at building the business out beyond its main functions.

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"We are going to engage in e-commerce going both ways, export to foreign markets, import to Australia. Secondly, we are going to build our payments business [Alipay], for people who live here, and for people who visit here.

"Number three, we are going to build a cloud business and that is designed to service the smaller companies. And the final piece, which might turn out to be the most important piece ... is the logistics infrastructure."

​Evans said to the AFR that Australia would play a significant role in contributing Alibaba chief executive Jack Ma's ambition to serve two billion global consumers by 2036.

Alibaba already employed a handful of people in Australia, and it will expand its workforce and probably open more offices, Evans said.

 - Stuff

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