Alibaba is set to expand its UK office from 15 people to 60 people within the next two years as part of its international expansion plans.

Jack Ma, Alibaba founder and executive chairman, laid out the expansion plans for the etail giant’s UK office, which will be the centre of its European operation, at the UK-China Business Summit, which was also attended by David Cameron and China’s president Xi.

Although Alibaba has 34,000 staff worldwide, Ma said the UK office would undergo a controlled expansion because the initial focus is to create jobs for other companies rather than Alibaba itself.

Alibaba aims to create jobs for young people and SMBs in the UK by helping them to sell into China using its platforms.

However, it has been speculated that Alibaba could be on the prowl for Western acquisitions to help it facilitate the sale of more products in Europe and North America on its platforms.

Ma said: “We judge how successful we are now by how much we change China and we will judge how successful we are in ten or 20 years by how much we change the world”.

Alibaba ‘s ambition is to help individuals and small businesses to sell anything globally and help consumers around the world buy anything, according to Ma.

He added: “We think we should be patient because good things take time. Our vision is to last 102 years so we have another 86 years to go.”

President Xi said he was keen to encourage more trade between the UK and China and also invited “more UK companies to invest and do business in China”.