The Kroger Co. (KR) on Tuesday announced it will start selling its products to Chinese customers via e-commerce site Alibaba as part of the grocer's first expansion into the overseas market.

The American grocery chain will sell products from its Simple Truth line on Alibaba's Tmall Global platform, an e-commerce site that sells brands overseas. 

Kroger’s SimpleTruth brand, which offers natural and organic products, grossed $2 billion in annual sales this year after launching in 2012.

"E-commerce enables Kroger to quickly scale to reach new customers and markets where we don't operate physical stores, starting with China," said Yael Cosset, Kroger's chief digital officer in a statement.

Kroger’s partnership with Alibaba is the company's latest move to compete alongside Amazon, which entered the grocery industry in June 2017 with its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods.

Kroger has also been adding ways to get its products to customers faster.

Earlier this month, the Cincinnati-based company launched its "Kroger Ship" home delivery service in several cities including Houston, Louisville and Nashville. In June it debuted a driverless program to deliver groceries to customers’ homes.

Kroger owns and operates nearly 2,800 stores across the U.S. as the country’s largest grocery chain. The company had $123 billion in sales in 2017.

Alibaba's Tmall Global platform was launched in China in 2014. It is the country’s largest online retailer and allows foreign businesses an opportunity to set up a virtual store and sell to Chinese customers.

Shares of Kroger were down 1.2 percent on Wednesday afternoon.

Kroger Kroger announced it will sell its products on a Chinese e-commerce site. The company's name is pictured on July 15, 2008 in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images