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STEPHEN JACOBI: REMARKS TO THE ALIBABA E-COMMERCE CONFERENCE AND EXPO

June 17, 2019

NEW ZEALAND CHINA COUNCIL

REMARKS TO THE ALIBABA E-COMMERCE CONFERENCE AND EXPO

AUCKLAND, 14 JUNE 2019

STEPHEN JACOBI
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

It’s great to be here and thank you to Alibaba for giving me the last word in a memorable and fascinating day for those involved in trade and e-commerce between New Zealand, China and the world.

Trade is the lifeblood of the New Zealand economy and today e-commerce is one of the important arteries linking our producers and exporters to global markets.

On your behalf, I’d like to thank Maggie Zhou and her team for giving us all the opportunity to understand more about the global phenomenon that is Alibaba today.

I have myself had the privilege of visiting the Alibaba campus in Hangzhou and have witnessed both the passion and expertise that is on display there.

Today it is the e-commerce channel that is opening up markets in China and elsewhere to a new generation of highly innovative and competitive New Zealand companies, particularly the small and medium sized enterprises that are the backbone of our South Pacific economy.

We may be small in size, but we are big in ideas and Alibaba helps us to take them to the world.

Doing business today is more challenging than ever.

The ever-changing needs of consumers, changing regulatory requirements in overseas markets and I’m sorry to say geo-politics can make the going seem pretty tough.

We’ve heard some great examples and case studies today about New Zealand companies taking on the world and winning with Alibaba’s help.

But I think the key message of today has been two-fold: one, you need a careful, well-planned approach to going global and you need to continue to devote time, effort and yes, money to understanding your consumers, their wants and needs.

Alibaba can help in this process, as we have heard, but understanding the market is ultimately up to you exporters.

These may be tough times globally, but between China and New Zealand trade is reaching an all-time high.

That speaks to the commitment, perseverance and resilience of New Zealand exporters and to the strong relationships they have built.

Alibaba is at the forefront of thinking about global trade and is active in promoting new models of global integration.

Here in Aotearoa, the proposal for an Electronic World Trade Platform or EWTP could revolutionise business by building a hub in New Zealand for e-commerce in the region.

That matches very well with an idea being developed by the NZ China Council and its partners.

On 25 June, here in Auckland, we will gather with partners and colleagues from China, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina in a one-day conference aimed at building what we are calling the Southern Link.

The idea is not new but gets new momentum from China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Can we build New Zealand as a conduit for trade, travel and tourism between China and South America ?

You can find out more detail at our website – www.nzchinacouncil.org.nz

You heard it here first – let’s work together to make New Zealand not the last bus stop on the planet but a staging post between South America and the markets and peoples of Asia.

This has been a great day and I am sure we have all learned lots.

Let’s take that information away with us, to build profitable business using e-commerce, and, with the help of Alibaba, let’s continue to build New Zealand’s export success !

(Image Credit @Tim_McCready)

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