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Alibaba eyes US e-commerce market with Office Depot partnership


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

March 6, 2019 | 4 min read

Alibaba has announced a partnership with Office Depot to empower small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the United States to grow by tapping into the global B2B e-commerce marketplace.


Both parties intend to expand their collaboration to provide faster, more transparent and cost-effective distribution / SFBJ.

The collaboration will see Alibaba tap into Office Depot’s relationships with more than 10 million U.S. business customers, a sales force of approximately 1,800 sales professionals, marketing demand engine, its supply chain network and its approximately 1,350 retail locations.

Office Depot will be able to leverage on Alibaba’s 150,000 suppliers globally, a catalog of product listings and manufacturing capabilities, and technology platform that provides SMBs with a range of tools and services to grow their businesses.

After the initial launch period, both parties intend to expand their collaboration to provide faster, more transparent and cost-effective distribution and fulfillment by improving the cross-border distribution and fulfillment they can offer US SMBs.

This is expected to shorten delivery times by connecting Alibaba’s logistics capabilities with Office Depot’s B2B supply chain and distribution network.

They also intend to help US SMBs sell their products to buyers in the US and around the world through

“As a trusted partner to millions of businesses, our customers tell us they want more choice in the market and need an expanded set of products and services to help their businesses grow. We believe our collaboration with is exactly what they are asking for,” said Gerry Smith, the chief executive officer of Office Depot, Inc.

“Leveraging Office Depot’s trusted brand, local presence, and national supply chain distribution network with Alibaba’s global supplier network and well-known capabilities in serving SMBs, U.S. businesses can now access a wide array of products and services through Office Depot and’s collaboration, which will empower them to compete and thrive.”

“Through this initial phase of work together with, we intend to grow our collaboration in ways that will drive even greater value and choice for our current and future customers.”

John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba, added: “American SMBs – who account for 99.7% of all companies in the United States – need more ways to grow and compete in today’s economy and take advantage of the enormous opportunity in B2B e-commerce. Since our founding, Alibaba’s mission has been to make it easy to do business anywhere.

“With Office Depot, we will be able to offer SMBs more choice, greater access, and further opportunities to grow. We’ll accomplish this by leveraging Office Depot’s local relationships, capabilities, and expertise alongside Alibaba’s global platform, technologies, and proven marketplace model. Together, we see great opportunities to empower our customers and help them tap into the $23.9trn global B2B e-commerce market.”

China is poised to become the world’s leading retail market this year as sales grow 7.5% to reach $5.636trn.

The growth will see China’s retail sales surpass the US by more than $100bn with the US market forecast to grow 3.3% to reach $5.529trn, according to figures from eMarketer.

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