Alibaba is the largest online retailer in China, a market Amazon has so far failed to make inroads on.
So joining up with the biggest rival seems like the most viable option for the firm.
Tmall platform, a website for verified brands like Nike, Apple and P&G to sell to Chinese shoppers.
Tmall is a prized venue for Western brands trying to reach Chinese consumers, who are increasingly concerned about product safety and avoiding fraudulent goods. Brands pay service fees to run their own stores on the site.
“China’s e-commerce industry is fast-growing and nobody wants to miss it,” said Yang Xiao of e-commerce services provider HC International. “Amazon wants to add an additional distribution channel in China.”
Tmall.com acts as a marketplace for online retailers and offers payment processing services for them as well. It does not sell its own products.
In 2004, Amazon bought Joyo.com, the Chinese books, music and video retailer, then rebranded the company as Amazon.cn in 2011.
But a presence on Tmall gives it a potentially valuable extra channel for reaching Chinese consumers.
Alibaba’s other major platform, Taobao, connects millions of small sellers with buyers, who can find just about anything but have to worry about fake goods.