By  on June 11, 2014

Let the digital turf war begin — the Alibaba Group has arrived in America.

The Chinese Web giant is making its first go at the U.S. consumer with 11 Main, a multicategory e-commerce destination that is launching in consumer beta mode today. The debut precedes Alibaba’s much-anticipated initial public offering on Wall Street later this year and could mark the beginning of a new phase in the East-meets-West battle with the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google and eBay.

The new site plays to Alibaba’s strengths in matching buyers and sellers — and takes its inspiration from the oldest forms of retail.

“[It’s] inspired by the main street shopping experience and the diversity you have on a main street,” Mike Effle, president and general manager of 11 Main, told WWD. “It’s a hand-selected collection, so we’re picking what we believe are the best shops in fashion and style, and home and outdoors. When we talk to our target customers, they describe themselves as expert shoppers.”

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