Alibaba to be cloned in Russia
21.03.2017 91 views
Russia will have an e-commerce aggregator similar to well-known Alibaba platform. The project scheduled for May-June 2017 is the brainchild of the Ministry for Economic Development and Sberbank.
According to Oleg Fomichev, State Secretary and Deputy Minister for Economic Development, "Personal Cabinet" of exporter is actively developed to enable receiving customs services and using external e-commerce platforms. A small entrepreneur’s «Personal Cabinet» to be launched on Sberbank platform that will make it possible to place description of products, delivery terms and prices.
“The platform should provide entrepreneurs with a set of services that allow product delivery to domestic markets and abroad after posting respective information, automatically placing it at electronic stores, solving logistics and insurance problems, etc.," - explains the official. The new service can be dovetailed with other services to be developed by the Russian Export Centre, enabling small businesses to offer products both domestically and for export.
“However, it is not that the new marketplace will turn the world over,” comments Alexander Ivanov, President of the National Association of Mail Order and Distance Selling Trade (NAMO). “There is no clear understanding either of outlines, or objectives of the “aggregator”. With multiple platforms already available, businesses are likely to select a service most suitable and convenient for them. So there is no need in a Russian clone of Alibaba. But even if created, it will be hardly able to resolve the problem of unavailability of sustainable cross-border e-traffic, which our country simply can’t afford at present. The only channel of such traffic we have had so far is eBay.
Besides, international shipping from Russia to anywhere in the world is still extremely expensive (Russian Post, for example, charges minimum 1600 rubles per unit). This proves to be completely unprofitable for Russian businessmen if we are talking about small consignments of non-expensive goods.”
According to Alexey Zhukov, Director of Pulse Express, “the initiative of establishing a “Russian Alibaba” has been discussed for more than a year, and it is only now that specific dates are mentioned – and this is encouraging. But you have to understand, that in order for this mechanism to work, it is not enough to just develop a software product called “marketplace”, you have to arrange the necessary infrastructure and provide access to it for all the e-commerce players, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, which need it most. The creation of such an ecosystem requires significant investment, and involvement of Sberbank may only be welcome.
A recent press release issued by DHL announces opening of a new Fulfillment Centre in Hong Kong, quoting Malcolm Monteiro, DHL e-Commerce Asia Pacific CEO as saying: “The future of e-commerce is in cross-border sales and the key to a borderless digital economy is efficient logistics and fulfillment.”
The trend of the future currently gaining momentum is development of m2c (manufacturer-to-consumer) scheme. In this sense, the initiative of e-commerce “aggregator” cannot be timed better.
One of the counter-arguments of skeptics is that there will be nothing to sell on this platform, that there will be no Russian products, except “valenki” (felt boots) and “matryoshka” to offer the world market. But this position is extremely detrimental, because the demanded products will not appear, unless access to the global market is available.
Meanwhile, the Ministry for Economic Development announced its intention to involve enterprises into participation in the platform through small business support infrastructure in the regions, as well as through the Small and Medium Business Corporation.