Alibaba opens e-commerce platform to sellers outside of China

The Chinese retail giant wants a bigger global reach in order to compete with Amazon.

China's e-commerce giant Alibaba is now allowing businesses from a select few other countries to sell goods on its platform. AliExpress, which enabled small and medium-sized companies in China to sell goods to over 150 countries, has opened up to businesses in Italy, Russia, Spain and Turkey reports The Financial Times. The company hopes to expand AliExpress to retailers in other countries.

AliExpress, which solely consists of third-party retailers, is notable for selling items at "too good to be true" prices, such as 49-cent iPhone cases or counterfeit luxury handbags for a few US dollars. Last year, AliExpress registered a 94 percent spike in sales. "This year is the first year for our 'local to global' strategy," said Trudy Dai, president of AliExpress to FT. "This strategy is intimately connected to Alibaba's broader globalization strategy."

Alibaba's global expansion is a direct aim at Amazon, which is currently the world's largest online retailer. But Alibaba's presence in China is unrivaled, and the country is expected to surpass the US this year as the biggest retail market in the world. Meanwhile, Amazon has struggled to make much of an impact in China, where shoppers prefer Alibaba and Last month, Amazon announced it was shuttering its Chinese domestic e-commerce business.