What happened: Alibaba’s business-to-business trading platform has entered into a partnership with US office supply retailer, Office Depot. Under the deal, small US businesses will be able to access 150,000 suppliers that offer next-day delivery in Alibaba’s global network. The Chinese online retailer will be granted access to 10 million business customers and 1,800 sales agents through the American retailer. The collaboration aims to create a one-stop shop for small to mid-sized companies.
Why it’s important: The new partnership marks another step for the Chinese e-commerce giant’s enterprise-facing business expansion beyond its home market. In its initiative to connect with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from around the world, Alibaba has inked MOUs with a number of countries in East Asia, Latin America, and Europe to bring products and services, especially from Chinese SMEs, to global markets. Alibaba has been doubling down on digital transformation for enterprises, riding the wave as business-to-business tech picks up pace in China.