Alipay, Alibaba eye expansion outside Asia with Russian JVs
Alipay has laid the groundwork for expansion of its digital payment system outside of Asia via a collaboration with Russia’s Mail.Ru.
Mail.Ru is the largest Russian internet company, operating the most popular social networks in the country. Alipay has become the payment platform of choice in China, and offers a secure platform for online and mobile payments. It is owned by Ant Financial, who, in partnership with Mail.Ru, are creating a digital payment services joint venture to be known as Payment JV. Mail.Ru is contributing its pre-existing payment systems in the form of Money.Mail.Ru and VK Pay in return for a 40% stake.
At the same time, Alibaba Group, the conglomerate whose ties to Ant Financial were recently made more concrete via a 33% stake, is to form another joint venture in the ecommerce space.
Announcing the news, Alibaba said it would collaborate with the Russian internet company, alongside its compatriots MegaFon and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, in a social commerce joint venture in Russia and other Commonwealth of Independent States members.
The joint venture is to be known as AliExpress Russia JV, taking the name of the group’s online retail platform. Those involved in the joint venture said its offerings would be integrated with Mail.Ru’s many platforms such as the social network VK.
Daniel Zhang, who recently replaced Jack Ma as Executive Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group, said: “Alibaba remains focused on fulfilling our mission “to make it easy to do business anywhere”. The AliExpress Russia JV is an important part of Alibaba’s globalization strategy, and a key step toward our long-term goal to help 10 million small businesses reach profitability and serve 2 billion customers worldwide. Together with Mail.ru Group, RDIF and MegaFon, we are committed to accelerating development of the digital consumer economy of Russia and CIS countries by enabling regional brands and SMEs to reach and serve their target consumers through our unique and innovative shopping experience.”