ALIBABA'S AUSTRALIAN 'GOLD MINE'

ALIBABA'S AUSTRALIAN 'GOLD MINE'
CHINA-based ecommerce giant Alibaba has launched its Australian and New Zealand headquarters in Melbourne.

The online marketplace, similar to eBay but esteemed as Amazon, takes in more than 12.7 billion orders a year from 430 million users.

Jack Ma, Alibaba group founder and executive chairman, was in Melbourne at the weekend to launch the headquarters before 300 industry, business and government figures.

Australia is the fourth highest seller on Alibaba.

At the launch, Ma spoke about Australia being a 'gold mine'.

"The clean water, the soil and the air, this is what you have, the most unique asset," he said, referring to the popularity of Australia and New Zealand's 'fresh air' bottled products targeted at Chinese consumers.

Australia Post is working with Alibaba subsidiary Lazada to expand its storefront footprint from China to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia to help Australian businesses sell their products on the platform. 

Alibaba Australia and New Zealand will be headed by Maggie Zhou, who was the 48th person employed at the company.

Alibaba's 'middleman' distribution model differs from competition to deliver the company economies of scale.

The e-commerce company's namesake business-to-business site stocks the likes of household brands including Blackmores, Jurlique and Penfolds. Another popular avenue for Alibaba is theconsumer-to-consumer Tmall platform, where it takes sales commissions and revenue from deposits and annual user fees.

While these are Alibaba's moneymakers, Taobao is the company's most used platform in China, which operates as a fee-free marketplace for sellers and buyers.

Alibaba operates a number of other entities too, including a secure payment system rivaling PayPal.

While in Australia, Ma also donated a $26.4 million bursary to the University of Newcastle - 'The Ma & Morley Scholarship Program' - paying homage to a local Newcastle family he spent time with as a teenager.

Ma is China's second richest man.

Alibaba debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014,  becoming the biggest IPO in history.

Business News Australia

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