New Zealand trade officials have signed a deal with the world's largest online marketplace, China's Alibaba Group.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Alibaba say they have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at developing opportunities for Kiwi businesses wanting to enter China's consumer market, by "leveraging services and platforms offered by Alibaba's ecosystem".

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister John Key and Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, who also founded the e-commerce giant and is one of China's richest men.

Key said that selling into China could be quite daunting for New Zealand businesses but that Alibaba gave "connectivity" from local producers to Chinese consumers.


Ma said that New Zealand's "wonderful small businesses" had good products but they didn't know how to sell into China.

"We have hundreds of millions of young people here [who] know how to sell but they don't have good products ... we should have a big match-making," Ma said.

Ma spoke about setting up training courses for New Zealand businesses to learn how to sell into the world's second biggest economy.

"We would either have courses in New Zealand or invite the entrepreneurs in New Zealand to stay in China for two weeks for training," he said.

Ma also said that Alibaba was going to open up a "business embassy" in this country next year.

- Staff reporter