Alibaba has launched a direct attack on eBay and Amazon, unveiling an e-commerce site in the U.S. today that is focused on selling products from a wide variety of categories, including home, fashion, jewelry and crafts.
The Chinese-based company, which has offices in San Mateo, Calif., says the 11main.com site was inspired by the America’s “Main Street” shopping experience. The site will focus on stocking products from smaller suppliers, giving it the feel of a collection of small boutiques rather than an online warehouse.
The site, at 11main.com, is still invitation-only mode, as Alibaba attracts more merchants.
Since Alibaba’s scale and scope in China is so massive, it’s hard not to compare 11main.com to eBay and Amazon, even though the site does not look anything like the two giants. For instance, rather than promoting an exhaustive list of products, and a search bar front and center to look for them, the site offers a bunch of boutiques, giving it an experience more comparable to Pinterest or Fab.com.
Many have said that Alibaba poses a serious threat to tech companies here, especially as it preps to raise a jaw-dropping $15 billion in a U.S.-based IPO — the most since Facebook’s IPO in 2012.Now we can see if that’s the case.