With appetite for fine wine and dairy products booming on Alibaba’s import-focussed Tmall platform, it’s not surprising that chairman Jack Ma has his eyes on New Zealand. Though the e-commerce billionaire’s love for the country is apparently not just just commercially driven.

During a Q&A session yesterday with the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, Ma hinted that he was potentially interested in buying land in the southern island, calling it the “dream land.”

While Ma is by no means a typical internet billionaire, he is known or his high-end property purchases, including a (rumored) $193 million USD Hong Kong property, which is said to be the second most expensive property worldwide proportional to its size.

At the event in Beijing Ma said he had many friends who had bought properties in New Zealand, but said his biggest constraint was that he didn’t have time to peruse the listings.

“I just don’t have time to go there seeing the property myself. I see so many friends buy great properties,” said the entrepreneur worth an estimated $50 billion USD.

During the event Ma and Keys signed a deal that will allow New Zealand businesses improved access to the company’s China-focussed e-retail platforms. According to New Zealand Trade Minister Todd Clay, the deal will involve promoting home-grown products that have a proven track record on Alibaba platforms.

New Zealand’s rich wine-growing regions and highly-developed agriculture pose an attractive proposition to e-commerce platforms seeking to tap the diverse appetites of China’s growing middle class. Alibaba’s Tmall already imports a variety of high-quality New Zealand produce, including fresh seafood.

Image Credit: Ne Zealand.com

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com

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