It's not just Amazon – China's e-commerce giant Alibaba is also eyeing up the New Zealand market.

Key people from Alibaba's leadership team are in Wellington for the New Zealand China Business Forum.

They want to expand the company's reach in New Zealand, including signing up more kiwi businesses to the site and launching Alibaba's payment system Alipay in local shops.

Alibaba Australia New Zealand managing director Maggie Zhou said New Zealand's image of having clean green products meant that food, vitamins and skincare all did well.


"We want to help more New Zealand businesses come in with high quality products.

"For the Alibaba ecosystem now, it's very powerful access for New Zealand businesses to the China market.

"There are also more markets, including Southeast Asia and India as well."

Alibaba's figures show about 400 New Zealand companies are already on the platform, reaching out to two billion customers across the Asian region.

The company also wants to expand past e-commerce in New Zealand, with moves to establish its Alipay service in Wellington shops.

Alipay is the dominant mobile payment service in China, and New Zealand retailers allowing its use alongside Visa or Mastercard means easier buying for Chinese tourists.

Only 13 per cent of Chinese visitors to New Zealand have a credit card.

Zhou told the Forum the future of e-commerce meant a blurring of lines between the offline and online worlds.


"In the next 30 years, we think it is the era of the internet.

"We've just begun with New Retail. But we need to use big data to enable others.

"In the past, coal and oil were our energy. But in the future, big data will be the new energy.

"In the future, pure e-commerce will disappear. And the distinction between online and offline will be blurred. It will become one seamless experience."

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the access provided by sites like Alibaba was "huge".

"You talk to people like Fix + Fogg peanut butter expanding through North America and Asia, we look at local manufacturing like Garage Project and Parrot Dog (craft beer brewers).

"We're seeing all of these burgeoning Wellington companies growing to have international scale."

Lester said he wasn't concerned about Alibaba's increased presence threatening local businesses.

"Ironically I was talking to the mayor of Xiamen earlier today, and he was jesting with me that we export too much from New Zealand into China, and he wants to see more Chinese businesses getting a foothold here.

"I think there's the opportunity there for both."

Lester said that New Zealanders were often early adopters with technologies such as eftpos, so he was hopeful there would be a similar embrace of Alipay.

He expected some Wellington shops to be on board with the payment system before the end of summer.

Christchurch Airport signed a memorandum of understanding with Alibaba earlier this year. It agreed to promote the Alipay platform and potentially make it available across the South Island.