The Chinese e-commerce giant has teamed up with a number of Russian firms to launch a new e-commerce platform joint venture in Russia, reports CNBC. Alibaba will work with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), mobile operator MegaFon, and internet group mail.ru to create a “one-stop destination for consumers to communicate, socialize, shop, and play games, all within the same online ecosystem,” says CNBC.
As for why the Chinese firm has entered this joint venture, believed to be worth around $2 billion, Russia currently is estimated to have around 70 million internet users–roughly half of its population. That number is expected to swell in the upcoming years as more people get online via smartphones–and Alibaba wants to tap into that growing market of online shoppers. The agreement is set to formalize in 2019.