A strategic alliance is an arrangement between two companies to undertake a mutually beneficial project while each retains its independence. The agreement is less complex and less binding than a joint venture, in which two businesses pool resources to create a separate business entity.
A company may enter into a strategic alliance to expand into a new market, improve its product line, or develop an edge over a competitor. The arrangement allows two businesses to work toward a common goal that will benefit both.
The relationship may be short- or long-term and the agreement may be formal or informal.