China's richest man, Alibaba online shopping founder Jack Ma, says he'd like to buy a home in New Zealand.

Ma - who's worth around $50 billion - met with John Key in Beijing late yesterday.
Standing alongside the Prime Minister, he heaped praise on the country, which he says is loved by many Chinese.

Ma says at least 20 of his colleagues in their 40s have retired to New Zealand.

He says they all say it's the people and the beauty of the country that attracted them.


The comments come as New Zealand trade officials have signed a deal with Ma's Alibaba Group, which is the world's biggest online marketplace.

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 in Beijing by Prime Minister John Key and Ma, who is the chairman and 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.

Export New Zealand's executive director Catherine Beard says the Alibaba move was "really encouraging." She said there were lots of countries and businesses competing for Chinese customers - so any extra profile New Zealand could get was hugely important.