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Internet firms eye tech tie-ups with Russian peers

By Meng Jing in Beijing and Ma Si in Wuzhen, Zhejiang | China Daily | Updated: 2015-12-17 08:26

Russia may well be the next big market for Chinese Internet firms, as the European country looks to further expand its cyberspace capabilities, according to top industry officials.

Jack Ma, executive chairman of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said on Wednesday that Russia has the right credentials to duplicate China's success in e-commerce.

"We are hopeful of building an e-commerce infrastructure, including e-commerce platforms, Internet finance and smart logistics, in Russia," he said. Ma's comments came after a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the ongoing Second World Internet Conference.

Medvedev's meeting with Ma and several tech entrepreneurs from both countries are expected to open the doors for further cooperation in trade and technology.

The Russian PM said that Chinese companies are already leaders in many sectors. "Technology development will play a vital role in shaping our future," he said.

According to Ma, during the recent Nov 11 online shopping festival, about one in 10 people from Russia made online purchases through Alibaba's AliExpress, a site dedicated to provide made-in-China products for overseas customers.

"Russia was one of the leading nations in terms of overseas buyers on Nov 11. Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated his commitment to help Russian small- and medium-sized enterprises to export goods to other countries," Ma said, adding that Alibaba hopes to work together with young people in Russia to build an online platform that can better serve businesses in the country.

While Alibaba is betting big on e-commerce, its rival Tencent Holdings Ltd is seeking extended cooperation with Russian online game developers.

Ma Huateng, chief executive officer of the Shenzhen-based Tencent, said he is looking to cooperate with Russian tech companies in digital entertainment.

"We have noticed that Russian companies are very strong in research and development. They have come out with several good online games. As one of biggest digital entertainment players in China, we have a lot of experience in publishing games and providing chargeable value-added services and products for gamers," he said. Such experiences are valuable for Russian tech companies planning to spread their wings in overseas markets.

In 2010, Tencent invested $300 million in Digital Sky Technologies Ltd, one of the largest Internet companies in the Russian-speaking and Eastern European markets.

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(China Daily 12/17/2015 page21)

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