With Californian headquarters and a number of boutique vendors all ready to go, Alibaba appears well prepared to launch its US-targeted virtual marketplace, 11 Main.
Described by The New York Times as part eBay, part Amazon, 11 Main is Alibaba’s first offering to be specifically designed and developed for a US audience. With a headquarters already running in San Mateo, 11 Main will reportedly offer more favourable terms than the likes of eBay, charging a 3.5 percent commission.
While the concept hasn’t launched as yet, it’s understood that 11 Main has courted several key vendors to appear on its platform, with an eye for those that appeal to the high-end shopper. By investing small into several key niches, Alibaba may well be able to eventually grow a platform to compete with the other American virtual marketplaces on their own turf.
For this reason, Alibaba is also said to run an office in Santa Clara as well, which is said to act as both venture capital firm and e-commerce developer.
“They want to be plugged into Silicon Valley,” said one person with direct knowledge of the company’s strategy, according to NYT. “They want to back good teams, see the newest trends, and the way you do that is by funding new companies.”
With several investments already made and many more to come, Alibaba is setting itself up to become a key player in Silicon Valley’s e-commerce scene, further solidifying its global position as a leader in the space.