The UKTI has agreed a tie-up with Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba to help UK retailers launch on its TMall platform, the country’s equivalent of Amazon.

Prime Minister David Cameron met with Alibaba founder Jack Ma in Shanghai to sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the shopping platform.

TMall will now allocate a dedicated team to support UK brands and help UK companies find agents and distributors in China.

China’s online market was worth £116bn last year and is set to rise to £396bn by 2020 according to McKinsey.

The MOU is the first part of the new UKTI global e-retail programme to accelerate UK companies export sales to international consumers through digital marketplaces.

UKTI chief executive Nick Baird said: “China is the largest digital consumer market in the world. Our new retail programme will ensure that UK companies will be seen by a growing audience of consumers who shop through digital channels like Tmall. Companies operating in digital malls will have a deeper market penetration and the ability to take advantage of the huge growth potential of countries like China.”