Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba signed a new strategic partnership with a number of Russian firms Tuesday, which will form a new e-commerce platform and utilize Russia's own payments system.
The deal — signed at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, Russia — includes the sovereign wealth fund of Russia, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), alongside mobile operator MegaFon and internet group Mail.ru. The partnership is aimed at integrating Russia's key consumer internet and e-commerce platforms, and also launching a leading social commerce joint venture in Russia.
Alibaba added Tuesday that the idea is to create a one-stop destination for consumers to communicate, socialize, shop and play games, all within the same online ecosystem. A Financial Times article last week also likened the venture to a digital version of China's silk road initiative.
"Collectively, the parties will inject new capital, strategic assets, leadership, resources and expertise to create an unmatched value proposition for merchants, consumers and internet users across Russia and the CIS (Russian Commonwealth), as well as accelerate the development of Russia's rapidly growing digital economy," a press release stated Tuesday.
According to the statement, Alibaba will contribute AliExpress Russia, its local e-commerce arm, to the partnership which could enable the Chinese firm to reach out to a larger audience in Russia. It also said it would look at injecting money into the venture.