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China’s biggest ecommerce platform Alibaba is set to open a new office in Australia to help Australian businesses access the lucrative Chinese market.

The company released a statement, which outlined its goal of having “dedicated country operations to work closely with Australian merchants and partners, and it is our plan to establish an office in Australia in late 2016 to better help local brands and merchants to access to the Chinese consumer market.”

It continued: “Australian brands and retailers like Woolworths, Chemist Warehouse, Bellamy’s Organic, Jessica’s Suitcase, Blackmores, Swisse and many others have opened a flagship online store on (Alibaba subsidiary) Tmall Global to sell to Chinese consumers.”

Founded by entrepreneur Jack Ma in 1999, Alibaba is sometimes referred to as the “Amazon of China”, and has a user base of some 400 million people. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and recorded revenues of around $16 billion in the 2014-15 fiscal year. Its overall market value is estimated at over $200 billion.

Frank Granziera, founder of the Olive Oil Skincare Company, based in Sydney, believes that the expansion will benefit the Australian business community. “When you’ve got a company with the persuasive powers of Alibaba along with you, it overcomes a few hurdles,” he said. “It gains you more exposure. What we find is that very often our products are exposed on Alibaba to Chinese consumers, but then you’ll find they talk to their relatives in Australia and their relatives in Australia buy our products too. Now we are finding many local enquiries from the local Chinese community.”

Alibaba has recruited Australia-China Business Council NSW Chief Executive James Hudson and New Zealand-born entrepreneur James O’Loghlin to aid its expansion into the Oceanian market. The company has not yet announced the exact location of the new office.

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