The two companies announced the agreement Monday as part of a broader array of services they are providing to small business. Over time, the companies intend to help U.S. small businesses sell their products to buyers around the world through Alibaba.com.
Alibaba.com is part of the Chinese online retail giant the Alibaba Group. The core of its business is connecting small businesses with its more than 150,000 suppliers worldwide. The agreement will give the retailer access to Office Depot's 10 million business customers.
Office Depot Inc., based in Boca Raton, Florida, has struggled in recent years with intense competition from Amazon.com. It still has 1,350 physical stores but its new CEO has been pushing the company to go beyond selling office products to become more of a one-stop shop for businesses for all services.
That goal will be furthered under this deal. Office Depot can now steer customers to Alibaba to find a broader array of products or to help them find a manufacturer to produce their goods.
--The Associated Press