China’s Alibaba & Russian tech firm Mail.ru announce partnership

The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou

The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou

Mail.ru will contribute its Pandao e-commerce business and cash in exchange for a 15 percent stake in AliExpress Russia, and RDIF will acquire a 13 percent stake in AliExpress Russia.

A new joint venture between Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba and Russian firms will use Russia's payment system, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on Tuesday.

E-commerce has grown rapidly in Russian Federation in recent years, spurred by improved internet access, with turnover exceeding $14 billion last year, one third of which were cross-border deals, according to Russia's Association of Internet Trade Companies.

Alibaba and Mail.ru said in a statement this would "integrate Russia's key consumer internet and e-commerce platforms and launch a leading social commerce joint venture in Russian Federation and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States)".

The new company will be called AliExpress Russia - taking after the name of an existing Alibaba platform.

Alibaba will fold its AliExpress Russia business into the new JV, while Megafon will swap its 10 percent stake in Mail.ru for a 24 percent stake in AliExpress Russia.

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Alibaba, co-founded by tech billionaire Jack Ma in 1999, reported revenues of $39.9 billion for the year ending March.

Alibaba, founded by tech billionaire Jack Ma in 1999, already plays a major role in e-commerce in Russian Federation through its AliExpress and Tmall platforms.

The deal was announced in a joint statement during the Eastern Economic Forum, an event in Vladivostok where Chinese President Xi Jinping met Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Our experience in China and other markets around the world makes us uniquely qualified to help build the future infrastructure of commerce in Russia", Alibaba President Michael Evans said in a statement.

Mir is used in Russian Federation in addition to worldwide payment systems, including Visa and MasterCard.

Mail.ru, whose assets include Russia's most popular social media network VK, is owned by Kremlin-friendly billionaire Alisher Usmanov. This will now become part of AliExpress Russia.

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