Alibaba opens first U.S. market place: 11Main

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Right after merging with UCWeb, China-based Alibaba has launched a beta version of its first U.S. marketplace, 11Main.

The title evokes America’s “Main Street,” where anyone can start a small business and succeed. How appropriate, then, that the new website helps small business owners to compete in an arena where the big boys traditionally win. The Etsy-meets-Amazon marketplace will host a wide variety of products on its sleekly designed website.

Instead of launching an everything-store in emerging markets, Alibaba is heading straight for the U.S., where the major players are already pretty established. Alibaba started out providing a B2B marketplace, but it now reigns China’s web market with a variety of services, media, and games. It’s no wonder the company wants to take its chances in the U.S. According to Alibaba’s IPO filing, its consumer shopping site sales delivered $248 billion combined — more than either eBay or Amazon.

Mike Effle, who’s heading up the new marketplace, says 11Main has been a long time coming. In an interview he said the budding marketplace is a combination of acquisitions made in 2010 and 2011, including Vendio, Auctiva and Singlefeed. The site will charge 3.5% in commission to retailers.

Its entry into the U.S. Internet marketplace could help draw attention to the company ahead of Alibaba’s IPO, which will hit the NYSE later this year.

More about the companies and people from this article: is a B2B e-commerce company. Alibaba’s primary business is to serve as a directory of Chinese manufacturers connecting them to other companies around the world looking for suppliers. According to iResearch, it was the lar... read more »

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