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New Zealand China Council Roundtable lunch with Alibaba Group

July 22, 2016

The NZ China Council was pleased to join with Minter Ellison Rudd Watts to host an executive roundtable lunch with Mr Michael J Evans, Group President of Alibaba Group. Michael Evans is responsible for leading and executing Alibaba’s international growth strategy for globalising the company and expanding its business outside China.

Michael Evans’ visit to Auckland followed the Prime Minister’s successful meeting with Alibaba Founder Jack Ma in Beijing in April this year. It came also after the Council, together with NZTE and NZCTA, hosted a successful series of workshops aimed at providing practical advice to New Zealand companies wanting to enter the Chinese e-commerce market.

Michael Evans was joined by a number of senior colleagues and participants at the lunch included CEOs from New Zealand companies already using Alibaba platforms or keen to do so. Companies were largely from the food, beverage, health and natural products sectors.

Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi said the discussion was engaging and high quality. “Many are aware of the potential for e-commerce to transform the business relationship with China and Michael Evans’ comments helped clarify some of the benefits and challenges”.

In a discussion facilitated by Council Chair Rt Hon Sir Don McKinnon, Michael Evans outlined Alibaba’s business strategy including the intention to upgrade its involvement in New Zealand. Jack Ma’s vision is to create a market place of 2 billion consumers and progress was being made to that end, even though e-commerce today represents only 10 percent of the Chinese retail market. Michael Evans stressed that a decision to use Alibaba platforms needed to reflect a long term vision for the company as these require a commitment of time and resources and the choice of a good partner to be successful.

Discussion also focused on the need to develop trust amongst on-line consumers that products they buy will be genuine, high quality and safe. Alibaba is directing significant resources to ensuring product integrity.

The NZ China Council looks forward to working with Alibaba and other partners to grow New Zealand’s e-commerce with China. The Council appreciates Minter Ellison Rudd Watt’s sponsorship of this event.

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