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Alibaba Backs New E-Commerce Site 11 Main, Big U.S. Splash Still to Come

Another small, but telling, bet on the U.S. market by the Chinese Internet giant.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Alibaba Group confirmed on Tuesday that two of its subsidiaries are creating a new U.S. e-commerce site called 11 Main, which will be a marketplace for local merchants to sell their goods online. The upcoming launch marks the latest signal that the massive Chinese Internet company is preparing a big splash in the U.S. online retail market.

The site has yet to launch and it is not clear how it will compete against giant incumbents such as Amazon and eBay, or smaller but popular ones such as Etsy. It is being jointly created by Auctiva and Vendio, two startups that Alibaba’s business division acquired in 2010. Both of those companies have a history of helping business owners sell their wares in online marketplaces.

Last month, Alibaba unveiled a $15 million investment in the U.S. luxury e-commerce site 1stdibs. And late last year the company invested around $200 million into Shoprunner, a U.S. company that is known for its free two-day shipping membership program, but which has much more ambitious plans.

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