Will Russia Participate in Digtal Silk Road?
The retail giant Alibaba Group is one step away from partnering with a large internet company Mail.ru Group and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). They are planning to establish a joint venture e-commerce company.
The Financial Times report says that in January 2017 Alibaba was considering the possibility of cooperation with Sberbank, a major state-owned bank in Russia. it was assumed that Chinese company would create an infrastructure for cross-border electronic commerce in Russia and neighboring countries. But the negotiations did not lead to anything. Therefore, some experts believe that the partnership between RDIF and Mail.ru is a substitute for the failed agreement with Sberbank.
Pandao, an online marketplace of Chinese goods, is a part of the Mail.ru Group, and an online store AliExpress belongs to the Alibaba Group. According to Mediascope, in July 2018 the audience of Alibaba Group in Russia was 17.7 million unique visitors. Monthly audience of Pandao is more than 6 million.
What do experts think?
The anonymous sources cited by Russian newspaper Vedomosti claim that the negotiations are "at an advanced stage."
According to the head of the Association of Internet Trade Companies (AITC), Artem Sokolov, the firms will share the client database, increase the quality of analytics to facilitate better demand forecasting and improve the quality of targeted offers.
"The alliance of several large players allows us to unite efforts, in case RDIF, Alibaba and Mail.ru Group start a partnership, this union will have quite a lot of resources," said Natalia Kolupaeva, senior analyst at Raiffeisenbank. She emphasized "an impressive audience of consumers and a large purchasing power" of the joint venture.
Why is it important?
Russia and China have a great interest in the "digital silk road", as evidenced by the number of negotiations on potential cooperation. If the agreement is signed, Russia will participate in one of the world's largest electronic trading agglomerations and become a transit way to Europe for Chinese goods.