Alibaba Group (BABA) - Get Report said Tuesday that it opened one of its e-commerce platforms to allow U.S. businesses to sell their products to buyers in the U.S. and around the world.

Prior to this, U.S.-based businesses were only able to buy items on

The plan will put the Chinese e-commerce giant in direct competition with Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report  in the business-to-business (B2B) online marketplace.

In a statement, Alibaba said that now "the nearly 30 million Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) in the U.S.- especially manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors -- can better access the $23.9 trillion global B2B ecommerce market, an opportunity that is six times larger than the global B2C ecommerce market."

Office Depot (ODP) - Get Report and Robinson Fresh have joined the platform, Alibaba said.

"Alibaba aims to empower entrepreneurs and help them succeed on their own terms," John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group, said in a statement. "With 10 million active business buyers in over 190 countries and regions, we are reshaping B2B commerce by providing the tools and services needed for U.S. SMB companies to compete and succeed in today's global marketplace."

Alibaba said it is holding a series of "Build Up" events to promote the platforms. The first is being held Tuesday at Industry City in Brooklyn, New York, followed by a similar event in Los Angeles on July 26, in Chicago on July 30, and other locations around the country.

Shares of Alibaba were 1.2% to $176.13.

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