FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Russian Internet company Mail.ru the Group can be seen on the façade of the head office in Moscow, Russia, on the 26th of June, 2019 at the latest. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian internet company Mail.Ru said on Wednesday it had reached an agreement on a joint-venture with Alipay, the mobile payment arm of the Alibaba Group, together with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Russian partners.
For the RDIF, the Russian mobile group Megafon, and Mail.Ru have agreed to another joint-venture with Alibaba, called AliExpress, Russia, RDIF’s director Kirill Dmitriev told Reuters separately.
AliExpress, which is controlled by Russian shareholders, will focus on Russia’s rapidly growing e-commerce market, which has annual sales of more than $14 billion. Consumers will be able to make use of AliExpress to buy products online, such as clothing and consumer electronics. The Alipay, the joint venture will take effect as soon as the AliExpress deal has been completed, the Mail.Ru he said.
Dmitriev said that AliExpress would be to help small-and medium-sized Russian companies in order to gain access to the Asian markets.
RDIF plays an important role in the development of Russia’s relations with other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Japan, and China.
Russia has increased its ties with east Asia and China since 2014, when it became the first of the western-imposed sanctions over Moscow’s role in Ukraine’s crisis. Russia and China, for example, may have developed closer ties in areas such as the production of oil or gas purchases.
Mail.Ru said the Alipay deal, RDIF, Megafon and USM holding company, Megafon, and Mail.Ru the shareholder, the payment is made the JV is focused on the digital-payment service is for Russian users.
Alipay has about half-a-billion users, and it also operates in Europe, where it has been used by Chinese tourists who travel around the world in ever-increasing numbers.
Mail.Ru said Money.Mail.ru and in the UK to Pay, as a part of the social network VKontakte, a portion of the payment to the JV. Mail.Ru the second-largest shareholder with a 40 per cent.
Reporting by Katya Golubkova. Editing by Jane Merriman