The world's second-largest company is taking a huge bet on a pint-sized market.

Dr Bodo Lang, head of marketing at the University of Auckland Business School, says bulk goods retailer Costco Wholesale will face a significant barrier operating in the New Zealand market: its subscription membership-only model.

New Zealanders are not familiar with the concept of paying a membership fee in order to shop at a store and, with the high cost of living in this country, Lang said he was unsure if people would be willing to pay such a fee.

He also questioned whether New Zealand had the