Alibaba goes into social media JV with

China-based Alibaba announced a joint-venture with Group in Russia designed to bring together Russian e-commerce, social media and gaming platforms in an attempt to deliver expanded online services to Russian consumers. The new JV it Is hoped to give Russian SMEs greater access to both local and international markets.

Alibaba subsidiary AliExpress and the biggest Russian Internet company Group are joining forces and aim to create a one-stop destination the consumers where they can communicate, socialise, shop and play games – all on one platform.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund, is backing the new JV along with Russian telecoms company MegaFon. Alibaba Group President Michael Evans called the joint venture with “an exciting step in Alibaba’s international expansion.” The Chinese e-commerce giant has set a goal of helping 10 million businesses worldwide reach profitability via e-commerce and serve 2 billion consumers globally.

“By partnering with Russia’s leading consumer internet platform, AliExpress Russia will help digitise and transform the retail value chain in Russia, enabling a seamless and innovative experience for consumers as well as creating significant opportunities for Russian entrepreneurs and SMEs to grow in their home market and expand globally,” Evans said when announcing the deal at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.

“Our experience in China and other markets around the world makes us uniquely qualified to help build the future infrastructure of commerce in Russia and neighbouring countries,” he said.

According to Group Boris Dobrodeev, the new joint-venture Will focus on developing the existing online properties, integrating them into the online social experience of Russian online consumers.

“Most Russian consumers are already our users, and this partnership will enable us to significantly increase the access to various segments of the e-commerce offering, including both cross-border and local merchants,” Dobrodeev said. “The combination of our ecosystems allows us to leverage our distribution through our merchant base and goods as well as product integrations.”