Alibaba takes on Amazon and eBay with U.S. e-commerce website

Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:05am EDT

An employee is seen behind a glass wall with the logo of Alibaba at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, April 23, 2014. REUTERS/Chance Chan

An employee is seen behind a glass wall with the logo of Alibaba at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, April 23, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Chance Chan

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(Reuters) - Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd unveiled its first direct-to-consumer online shop in the United States on Wednesday, looking to take on Amazon.com Inc and eBay Inc on their home turf.

The website, 11main.com, which is currently in beta, will feature a wide range of products, including "one-of-a-kind items, not available at mass merchants and other large e-commerce sites," Alibaba said.

The website displayed an "opening soon" message early on Wednesday. "Our shop owners are currently unpacking and getting settled," the site said.

The invitation-only marketplace, which Alibaba said would be "inspired by the local Main Street shopping experience," will offer products in a variety of categories such as fashion and style, home and outdoor, and jewelry and watches.

The announcement comes as Alibaba prepares for a U.S. initial public offering that is expected to raise more than $15 billion - the most since Facebook's IPO in 2012.

The company, founded by Jack Ma, controls 80 percent of all online retail in China, handling about $250 billion in 2013 - more than Amazon and eBay Inc combined.

Reuters reported in February that Alibaba was set to launch a U.S. e-commerce website.

(Reporting by Supriya Kurane, Ankush Sharma and Aurindom Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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Comments (4)
ppp9988 wrote:
Alibaba is aiming to take the western retailers out.
Too bad that the reputation of Alibaba has suffered in the past years in China. Since they are loosing clients in the factory arena setting, Taobao is not far behind. Fees have gone through the roof and many vendors cant afford to operate their online stores on the low margins of the products. Both of these ventures are already on the way down and Mr. Ma is trying again to grasp the last straw.
His creation of Aliexpress was also a shot in the oven. It makes you wonder what the difference between these two entities is.
11main and aliexpress, both aim at the western consumer markets.
The core business Alibaba.com, the mother of all Chinese exports has lost steam. Reliability of the vendors there is doubtful. These days even known scammers get a Gold supplier rating from Alibaba, even that they are known never to deliver the product that has been ordered and that conflicts never get resolved.
Aliexpress and 11main lack on several features. Customer service, warranty of products and communication, since most of the vendors are surely form Asia. These days, besides the global economic trouble, there has grown and anti china product movement. Sub standard quality of most Chinese manufactured products,as well as the lack of proper communication in case of warranty claims, production delays or even recalls. That is something Mr. Ma certainly can not fix, regardless his efforts to get a foot in the western markets. In my view, that project will be a failure as several other ventures of Alibaba did not stand the test of time.
Just creating a fine story for an IPO does not cut it. More and more companies are pulling out of Mr. Ma’s empire and look for alternative methods of selling their products.

Jun 11, 2014 7:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse
TrevorSamuel wrote:
Absolutely unbelievable. First we allow Chinese hackers to steal our technology, then we let companies that profit from their rapacious activities and heavy-handed government to set up shop in the US. All so a select, but obviously well-connected (read: donated money to US government officials. I.e. bribe), can make more money.

Sounds reasonable. If you’re one of the select few.

Jun 11, 2014 9:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
fw360 wrote:
@pp9988

I think broad-brush statements are meaningless and mostly idiotic. If you can change the “all” in your writing into something like “some” or “many”, then your statement is more believable.

However, I tend to agree with you that Alibaba’s online store in US will be a failure.

Jun 11, 2014 11:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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