Russia’s VKontakte, a social network owned by mail.ru Group, has announced it will start connecting to alibaba’s AliExpress in its mobile apps, according to media reports.
Through this partnership, Russian users can purchase goods from China through the VKontakte app or through the pages in their browsers without additional authorization. Users can search aliexpress products, place orders and complete payments without leaving the VK app. In the future, VK plans to build new social e-commerce products with aliexpress, including the user shopping experience, and add Russian sellers and manufacturers to the platform.
Aliexpress can be found in the “services” menu of VK mobile client. Open VK to the personal homepage interface, and you will see the new aliexpress module at the bottom. Directly click enter to enter the aliexpress interface.
Users can click on the products they want to purchase or search directly in the search bar. To make a purchase, they can log in their aliexpress account and link their AilExpress account to the VK page.
In the payment interface, users can use VK Pay built-in wallet, bank card or other payment methods in electronic wallet to complete the experience of aliexpress shopping directly on VK.
E-commerce retail accounts for only 4% of Total retail sales in Russia, but Mail.ru believes the partnership with Alibaba will boost activity in the Russian online shopping market. Boris Dobrodeyev, mail.ru’s chief executive, said VK, which has 97 million monthly users, would be able to use VK apps or websites on Aliexpress shopping. In addition to making it easier for Russian consumers to use shopping online, VK can also use technology similar to Tencent’s WeChat messaging service to recommend products and other content.
Back in June, alibaba group announced a joint venture with Russia’s sovereign wealth fund (RDIF), mail.ru, Russia’s largest social networking and IT group, and MegaFon, a Russian integrated telecommunications operator. The joint venture will build a leading social e-commerce project in Russia and the commonwealth of independent states through the integration of resources from all parties.
In fact, the intention to cooperate was first announced during the 4th Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, last September. The joint venture, called AliExpress Russia, will include the Russian operations of AliExpress, Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce platform, according to media reports at the time.
Aliexpress, Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce platform, has about 20 million users in Russia, and the number of cross-border shoppers is likely to increase further as Russia’s postal service improves its logistics system, especially in Vladivostok and routes to Siberia and the Urals.
Notably, one of the joint venture’s investors, Mail.ru, owns VK, Russia’s largest social platform. Alibaba has also said that the cooperation with VK will bring a lot of new users to Aliexpress. It is conceivable how much profit this partnership will bring to Aliexpress. This cooperation may be one of the new projects after the multi-party joint venture.
VK.com (formerly Vkontakte.ru, or VK) is a well-known online social networking service in Russia, the most popular social site in Russia. One and a half billion pages are opened every day, more than all the other big websites in the commonwealth of independent states combined, arguably the biggest social networking site in Europe, VK.com has grown to become Russia’s second-largest site after search engine Yandex.