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Alibaba, Australia sign a deal to expand trade opportunities

Alibaba and Austrade have signed a deal to strengthen trade opportunities by expanding the range of Australian products sold to hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers through Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms.

Food producers and other businesses will get help reaching global markets under the new deal, which will provide dedicated services for Australian products and leverage digital content to build the country’s brand abroad.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull witnessed the signing of the deal at Alibaba’s headquarters in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Alibaba “enables the smallest businesses, the mom-and-dad businesses, in the regional part of Australia to have access to the biggest part of the world, something that hitherto only a very large company with enormous resources, with enormous representation would be able to do,” Tuenbull said during his visit.

“It’s a liberating force for small business. And because so many of the services are available on the cloud, again it reduces the cost of business and levels the playing field between the big company and the small company.”

Using the popular and Tmall Global websites, the strategic collaboration agreement will enable more businesses to sell goods such as fresh food online.

Alibaba markets have more than 434 million users and take 12.7 billion orders each year.

There are already more than 1300 Australian brands on the two online platforms, 80 per cent of which had never before reached the Chinese market.

A one-week fresh food promotion is planned, which will focus on high-quality Australian produce.

A similar promotion for New Zealand oysters last year saw 50,000 sold online in one day, with buyers able to track the temperature of the oysters on a mobile phone app from NZ to China.

Chemist Warehouse was the first Tmall Global merchant to reach $2 million in sales on one day during the 2015 “global shopping festival”.

There is growing interest in oats and cereal, beef, dairy, natural skincare and active-wear products.

An Alibaba hub office, headed up by managing director Maggie Zhou, is planned for Melbourne by the end of the year to support local operations in Australia and New Zealand.

“Australia is a key market for Alibaba Group and we are excited to extend our collaboration with Austrade to cultivate successful Australian exporters that are capitalising on China’s expanding middle class,” Zhou said.

“With Alibaba Group’s new Melbourne office opening later this year, our local team will be dedicated to providing businesses the information and tools they need to advance their international growth.”

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