AliExpress, the B2C subsidiary of Alibaba which last year became the number one online marketplace in Russia, has resumed delivery to Crimea. Just months ago, the Chinese platform had stopped serving the disputed peninsula. It was assumed that Alibaba was complying with western sanctions, which bar companies from working in this peninsula.
The news was announced earlier this month by Nikolay Nikiforov, Russia’s Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications, who referred to an exchange with Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma.
“I wrote Jack Ma an email. They quickly investigated the issue and confirmed having a problem with either supply chains, or USA companies, or something else. According to Jack Ma, they had to relocate a number of servers to China, which they are planning to then shift to Russia. All in all, as of two days ago, Alibaba was operating as usual, Jack Ma informed us,” explained Nikiforov in a somehow confusing way.
“Alibaba doesn’t expect similar problems in the future,” Nikiforov added, as reported by Russian news agency Interfax.
Answering Putin’s call
The Russian minister also expressed satisfaction over the improvement in international deliveries: “The Russian Post is performing well and the parcels are delivered quickly, there are no problems any more.”
Indeed considerable progress has been achieved in this field over the past couple of years, with parcel delivery time from China to Russia reduced from a few months to a few weeks — or even a few days.
The volume of B2C cross-border e-commerce exchanges between China and Russia grew by 50% in 2015, according to Nikiforov, while the Russian domestic online retail market tended to stagnate.
Alibaba has also positively reacted to the Russian authorities’ call to develop an e-commerce platform for Russian companies to sell products in China and beyond.
“We have seen the initiative of President Putin to create an electronic platform that would help Russian small and medium enterprises to enter export markets. And we hope very much that we can contribute to its implementation,” the Russian media quoted Ma as saying last week.
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