Alibaba’s Cainiao logistics operator is leasing seven cargo planes to fly every day from China to Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Krasnoyarsk.
AliExpress Russia is hoping the partnership will slash delivery times for Russians who purchase AliExpress eCommerce items.
Russia’s online shopping sales are over $14 billion each year and growing. The direct flight is intended to deliver orders from China to Russia in 10 days.
In June, Russian eCommerce giant Mail.ru, mobile company MegaFon and Alibaba announced a partnership to form AliExpress Russia Joint Venture. The new operation caters to Russia and the surrounding countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It’s estimated to be worth about $2 billion.
“This partnership will enable the AliExpress Russia JV to accelerate the development of the digital consumer economy of Russia and CIS countries in ways that no one party could accomplish alone,” Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, said at the time.
“Together, we are uniquely positioned to offer consumers in Russia and neighboring countries an innovative shopping experience by combining social platforms with commerce, as well as enabling regional brands and [small businesses (SMBs)] to sell their products locally and globally,” he added.
He said the joint venture was an important part of Alibaba’s international expansion and its goal of supporting 10 million small businesses and serving 2 billion consumers around the world.
MegaFon didn’t add an eCommerce business into the venture, but its addition means there could be some mobile-related innovations and products in the future.
Gevork Vermishyan, CEO of MegaFon, said in June that the agreement was “… in line with our digital strategy” of providing opportunities for its more than 76 million customers. He called eCommerce “a perfect fit for our rapidly developing ecosystem of partnerships to furnish best-in-class financial services, media and other consumer offerings.”