BEIJING: Alibaba, which earlier this month announced that it had become the world's largest retailer, has opened up its e-commerce platforms to brands from New Zealand.

The Chinese e-commerce giant signed a memorandum of understanding with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, an official trade promotion agency, to strengthen commercial ties between the two countries.

The signing ceremony at the China Entrepreneur Club Leaders Forum in Beijing was witnessed by Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Alibaba, and New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key.

According to China Daily, Ma told delegates that New Zealand has many small businesses that offer very good products and services, but they don't know how to sell into China.

Equally, Ma added, there are hundreds of millions of young people in China who know how to sell but don't have good products.

New Zealand brands, especially in the food and drinks category, have a very high reputation in China for their quality, safety and sustainability.

Ma revealed that last year 50,000 oysters from New Zealand were sold in just one day on Alibaba's online platforms and that milk powder and honey are also very popular.

While Chinese consumers are clearly content to buy food from New Zealand, Ma emphasised that what China really should be buying into is New Zealand's technology and innovative ideas.

So, in addition to helping New Zealand brands enter the Chinese consumer market through its e-commerce channels, Alibaba will launch a training programme in the country and set up a business embassy.

"There are enormous opportunities in each other's market for foreign direct investment. We have seen China growing rapidly as an investor in a great many sectors in New Zealand," said Prime Minister Key in comments reported by CCTV.

"When we look at platforms like Alibaba, it represents the ultimate opportunity to bring products and services from New Zealand directly to a platforms of consumers here in China."

Data sourced from China Daily, CCTV; additional content by Warc staff