Office Depot and Alibaba team up to tap small and medium businesses

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, July 20, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

(Reuters) – Office Depot on Monday teamed up with Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd to launch a co-branded e-commerce website, seeking to tap into the opportunities of selling to small and medium businesses in the United States.

The office supplies provider said the partnership would give Alibaba access to Office Depot’s 10 million customers and 1,800 sales agents.

Also, Office Depot’s customers will get access to Alibaba’s global network of over 150,000 suppliers to find more product options or a reputed manufacturer to produce their goods, the companies said in a joint statement.

The deal is aimed at cutting delivery time and give small and medium U.S. businesses opportunities to sell beyond the United States through

The partnership comes as Office Depot struggles to boost sales amid stiff competition from e-commerce giant Inc. It is now focusing on selling business services to their customers, rather than relying on its traditional business of selling office supplies.

Office Depot shares were up 10 percent at $3.9, while shares of Alibaba were up 1.3 percent at $186.35 in premarket trading.

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel

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