During the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced is setting up a joint venture with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, mobile operator Megafon, and internet group Mail.ru.

The companies announced that Alibaba will contribute its AliExpress Russia e-commerce website to the joint venture. Russian mobile operator Megafon will swap a 10% stake in Mail.ru for a 24% stake in AliExpress Russia.

By partnering with Russia’s leading consumer internet platform, AliExpress Russia will help digitize and transform the retail value chain in Russia. 

This will enable a seamless and innovative experience for consumers as well as creating significant opportunities for Russian entrepreneurs and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) to grow in their home market and expand globally.

The Alibaba Group’s “experience in China and other markets around the world makes us uniquely qualified to help build the future infrastructure of commerce in Russia and neighboring countries.”

Mail.Ru Group CEO Boris Dobrodeev said the companies would focus on developing their existing online properties, as well as integrating them into the online social experience of Russian consumers.

Mail.Ru Group has 100 million internet users across its social-media, messaging, email and online-gaming properties. The new joint venture is aimed at supporting Russia’s consumption upgrade by delivering a greater selection of high-quality products to the market.

For Russian small and medium-sized enterprises, it’s a chance to tap a newly-connected system in the domestic market while accessing more than 600 million consumers using Alibaba’s platforms, including in China, Southeast Asia, Turkey, Europe and India.

RT.com / ABC Flash Point Cyber News 2018.

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