Kiwi businesses gather to show off wares at first Alibaba expo in Auckland

If you can eat it, drink it or put it on your skin – chances are it’s something Chinese consumers want to get their hands on - and they increasingly want it to come from New Zealand.

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As its first ever NZ Expo kicks off, the company is opening more doors to Kiwi businesses. Source: 1 NEWS

Auckland is hosting the country’s first expo from Chinese online retail giant Alibaba.

It’s a showcase of what New Zealand has to offer Chinese consumers, as companies try to set themselves apart from global competitors.

"People love the New Zealand products because they are high quality products from overseas," Alibaba’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, Maggie Zhou, told 1 NEWS.

"The middle class in China is growing," she said.

Alibaba says China will be home to more than 600 million middle income earners by 2022, and that they’re consumers that will want to spend.

Today's expo has proved to be more popular than ones in Australia, with more pre-registrations being made by people eager to come.

It’s also a chance for Chinese buyers to see New Zealand products in person.

Adele Wilson from Fonterra told 1 NEWS the face-to-face contact was important.

"Today is a way for them to come in and interact directly with our product, to understand the differences, and it comes as a really great opportunity to explain those differences," she said.

It’s also a chance to expand.

"The focus is on selling more," Rebecca Margetts from Taylor Pass Honey says.

"This is all about setting the platform, meeting people, communicating and getting the brand out there – getting them to know about us," she said.

David Nicholas from Winston Nutritional said the number of potential consumers is staggering.

"There’s a vast market in China for a lot of New Zealand product," he told 1 NEWS at his stand. "They’re interested in finding new and innovative food products." 

More than 100 New Zealand brands, big and small, are at the showcase hoping to grab attention in China.

Alibaba is also looking to expand its operations in New Zealand to keep up with demand for Kiwi products as they surge up the popularity ranks.

"We see the trends of the consumers in China," said Ms Zhou from Alibaba.