Reports indicate that Alibaba is set to launch its B2C marketplace platform Tmall in Russia as an online part of the AliExpress site. This would be the first expansion of Tmall beyond China. Reports indicate that AliExpress is one of the most popular online shops in Russia, with an estimated 15.6 million customers who visit the site each month. To maximise sales opportunities, Tmall will operate as a separate online shop and marketplace in Russia.
Products ordered from Tmall will be delivered from warehouses of Alibaba’s partners in Russia. Director of Development of AliExpress in Russia, Mark Zavadsky, says that localizing AliExpress in Russia started two years ago with the launch of marketplace “Mall” within the platform. The upgrade to Tmall will provide better quality of services to a more careful selection of goods, a single warehouse and logistics based on courier delivery.
Russia is a logical choice as a first market aside from China, because it has a large population and is reasonably underdeveloped when it comes to e-commerce. Besides that, it has close cultural and geographical ties to China.