Alibaba Group has merged its U.S. e-commerce venture, 11 Main, with online-shopping platform OpenSky. While the news is just making waves this week, sources familiar with the situation tell FN that management for both companies started working together since last week on the post-merger strategy.
“We believe the combined businesses of 11 Main and OpenSky bring together leading services used by over 50,000 of the world’s most creative brands and millions of discerning shoppers,” said a spokesperson for Alibaba. “This joining of forces will help drive sales worldwide and better deliver on the mission to empower SMB brands to reach and sell to consumers.”
Alibaba launched 11 Main last year as an online destination featuring a hand-selected collection of specialty shops and boutiques and “offering the experience of shopping local Main Street destinations all across America,” according to the company.
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While the original venture was expected to lay the foundation for Alibaba’s U.S. expansion — right now, just 5 to 7 percent of Alibaba’s revenue comes from outside of China — sources say the new partnership is expected to help the firm better understand the American market.
OpenSky, a U.S.-based social shopping platform, connects consumers and brands, allowing them to buy and sell mainly unique and indie products through its online-and-mobile commerce platform.
The merger should give 11 Main’s management team insight into the U.S. marketplace, resources in technology and innovative customer tools that insiders say the company hopes will improve the overall buyer and seller experience on the platform.