Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which owns what is estimated to be the world’s biggest online retailer, is opening offices in Russia in a bid to further strengthen its position in the Russian market.
Alibaba Group is a Chinese company founded by Jack Ma in 1999 and made up of several online businesses. It owns AliExpress – the world’s most popular e-commerce site, which has helped to make Ma China’s second richest man and one of the richest in the world, with a net worth of $25.2bn (€22.6bn) according to Forbes magazine.
The company’s Russian AliExpress site is currently the most popular e-commerce site in the country with 15.6 million monthly customers. In comparison, eBay and Amazon have 3.7 million and 1.7 million respectively.
As of 15 May the Chinese company registered its subsidary with the Russian government and today Alibaba’s head of development in Russia, Mark Zavadskiy, told the newspaper that Alibaba would now officially open its Russian branch called “OOO Alibaba.com (RU)”.
“Alibaba Group has founded a new company in Russia with the aim of expanding our business further, support our partners and to ease cooperation with the state organs of Russia,” Zavadskiy said. He will now be promoted to CEO of the new Russian Alibaba.com.
According to Data Insight, a Russian research agency specializing in the e-commerce market, Russia is one of three key international markets for Alibaba, alongside the US and Brazil.
Website traffic tracker Similar Web shows that Russia is the second biggest audience for the Alibaba group’s AliExpress website, constituting 9.9% of its visitors in the last six months. The US is the only country with more visitors to the site, contributing 10.7% of the traffic over the same period.
Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia’s richest men who owns shares in London’s Arsenal FC and the Kommersant newspaper itself, is a shareholder at Alibaba Group.
The Alibaba group has other ongoing projects in Russia. It recently launched a new loyalty in cooperation with Tinkoff bank, according to Russian finance news portal Banki. The scheme is intended to reward registered credit and debit card holders, who will receive bonus points on transactions with AliExpress and other retailers, which would then be eligible to be spent in AliExpress.