A white paper is a one-to five-page document that describes a given problem and proposes a specific solution to the problem. It’s commonly used in government and corporate settings. A typical white paper might list ways to meet a client''''s marketing needs, suggest the use of a certain product for a technical process, or identify ways to tackle municipal problems. To write a successful white paper, you must know your audience, state your problem clearly, and make a convincing and engaging argument of how to solve it.
A white paper is an informational document issued by a company to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product or service. White papers are sales and marketing documents used to entice or persuade potential customers to learn more about or purchase a particular product, service, technology or methodology. White papers are designed to be used as a marketing tool before a sale, and not as a user manual or other technical document developed to provide support to the user after making a purchase.
The term white paper originated with the British government, and many point to the Churchill White Paper of 1922 as the earliest well-known example under this name.  In British government it is usually the less extensive version of the so-called blue book , both terms being derived from the colour of the document's cover. 
White papers are a ". tool of participatory democracy. not [an] unalterable policy commitment."  "White papers have tried to perform the dual role of presenting firm government policies while at the same time inviting opinions upon them."