Chinese online shop shapes Russian e-commerce market
MOSCOW — With improving transnational logistics, the cross-border online shopping upsurge rising in China over recent years has now spread to its northern neighbor — Russia. Maria Chiscakova, a 22-year-old living in Nizhny Novgorod in western Russia who places at least one order via the internet per month, tells a convincing story as an experienced online “shopaholic.”
Chiscakova began to shop overseas about three years ago at Ali Express, the cross-border online shopping unit of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. After several satisfying orders, she introduced it to her family and friends. Now they have all fallen in love with the online shop.
“I ordered a mobile phone online, and it’s the best I have ever used. The headset my husband Oleg bought is also amazing. We are both surprised that it is of high quality and inexpensive at the same time,” she said.
The competitive quality and price of Chinese goods, as well as the great convenience brought by online shopping, make Chiscakova and her family and friends loyal customers of the portal.
“Frankly, I don’t like shopping malls. There are a lot of people and they are in a bad mood as the prices are high or shop assistants are rude. A lot of my friends share my views. That is why Ali Express just saves us,” she said.
Chiscakova is one of the 22 million Russian customers of Ali Express. On Nov 11, the occasion of an online shopping festival, Ali Express received 20 million orders from Russian customers, up 85 percent year-on-year, accounting for 60 percent of its total overseas orders on that day.
The company had its ups and downs after it entered the Russian market in 2012. After suffering a two-year financial loss in the beginning, it gradu- ally got on the right track and has become the largest online retailer in Russia, followed by Amazon and eBay.
Apart from the devaluation of the ruble since 2014, Ali Express’ success could be a result of the company’s transition of its business model from business to business, or B2B, to business to customer or BTC. This simplifies the shopping process and enables goods to be delivered directly to consumers, according to media analysts.
A woman in Moscow checks her goods bought via Alibaba platform.