Russian eCommerce giant Mail.ru, mobile company MegaFon and Alibaba have announced a joint partnership for a new venture called AliExpress Russia JV, according to reports. The new operation will cater 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,” said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group. “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 continued, “Alibaba’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. This JV is an important part of Alibaba’s international expansion, and [a] step toward our goal of supporting 10 million small businesses [to] reach profitability, and serving 2 billion consumers around the world.”
MegaFon isn’t adding an eCommerce business into the venture, but its addition means there could be some mobile-related innovations and products in the future.
“MegaFon is pleased to enter into this partnership with global technology leaders Alibaba Group, [Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)] and Mail.Ru Group,” said Gevork Vermishyan, CEO of MegaFon. “This agreement is in line with our digital strategy of ‘driving [the] digital world,’ aimed at creating new opportunities for over 76 million customers. eCommerce is a perfect fit for our rapidly developing ecosystem of partnerships to furnish best-in-class financial services, media and other consumer offerings. This combination is beneficial for all parties, providing unparalleled access to the Russian consumer base.”
The RDIF, which also participated in the venture, said it’s a great opportunity to tap into the market.
“This landmark partnership will bring both significant benefits to customers and create unprecedented opportunities for services growth,” said Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF. “RDIF continues to support the acceleration of the digital transformation of the Russian economy through the expansion of the eCommerce market. Bringing together the expertise of the companies at the forefront of social commerce and global retail opens a new era for the Russian market.”