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Financials

China's JD.com forges Russian tie-up to begin global expansion

MOSCOW, June 16 (Reuters) - Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc has partnered with Russia’s biggest online retailer Ulmart, it said on Tuesday, in preparation for a push into its first foreign market.

Growing Internet connectivity has helped to drive Russia’s online sales boom in recent years, attracting global players such as eBay and Alibaba.

Now JD.com plans to join the fray in an effort to tap a Russian market that has the largest number of Internet users in Europe, having overtaken Germany in 2011, according to Internet analytics firm comScore.

“The company embarks on global expansion today,” Victor Xu, President of JD.com’s international business group, told reporters.

“At the first stage, we position ourselves as a platform with emphasis on Chinese goods ... later, it will be a platform for global trade.”

The volume of Russia’s cross-border online trade is expected to double this year compared with 2014 and reach $14 billion, JD.com said, citing data from research firm GfK. It said China accounted for 63 percent of all Russian cross-border online shopping last year.

JD.com’s and Ulmart, Russia’s biggest online retailer by sales, aim to promote and sell goods offered on JD.com through Ulmart’s platform, including its website and pick-up points.

The Chinese company will also launch its own Russian-language website on June 18. Shoppers can pay using credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal, and will soon be able to pay via electronic wallets provided by Qiwi and Sberbank’s Yandex.Money.

In May JD.com also signed a cooperation agreement with Russian delivery business SPSR-Express. (Reporting by Olga Sichkar; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Alexander Winning and David Goodman)

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