Alibaba is opening up its Alibaba.com platform to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in North America for the first time, meaning that US businesses can sell goods on the B2B e-commerce site.
According to Alibaba, the B2B global e-commerce market is worth $23.9 trillion, six times more than consumer-facing e-commerce. It also explained that by launching into the US, the opportunity for growth is driven by the 30 million SMBs that are operational in North America.
John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group, said: “Alibaba aims to empower entrepreneurs and help them succeed on their own terms. With 10 million active business buyers in over 190 countries and regions, we are reshaping B2B commerce by providing the tools and services needed for US SMB companies to compete and succeed in today’s global marketplace.”
The move follows on the heels of a major partnership with American B2B brand Office Depot. The partnership sees Alibaba use Office Depot’s on the ground resources in the US, while Office Depot will use Alibaba’s 150,000 global suppliers to bolster its offering. Office Depot is now an ‘anchor seller’ on the platform and Alibaba plans to continue to make partnerships of this type.
Gerry Smith, chief executive officer for Office Depot, said: “We’re proud to expand our strategic collaboration with Alibaba.com. By becoming an anchor seller, we can reach a larger small business audience and provide them with the products and services they need to compete on a global scale.”
To promote the platform being live in America, Alibaba is planning a series of ‘Build Up’ events across the country. The first in Brooklyn is in partnership with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Industry City and will provide workshops and training on how to use the e-commerce platform. Los Angeles will follow during the same week.