JD.com Inc., the Chinese e-commerce company that competes with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is starting a Russian-language website this week to fuel growth beyond its home market.
“Russia is Europe’s largest Internet market by audience and has fast-growing e-commerce,” Victor Xu, the company’s country head, told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday. “We aim to become a market leader in Russian e-commerce.”
JD.com is betting on international expansion to chase larger rival Alibaba, which has quickly gained popularity in Russia. JD.com, which had an initial public offering in the U.S. last year, is seeking to sustain its growth rate to justify a market value that now tops $50 billion.
Alibaba’s Aliexpress shopping site had 19.6 million monthly users in Russia in April, standing among the country’s 10 most popular websites, according to researcher TNS. Its audience rose 65 percent from a year earlier as more shoppers sought cheaper goods amid an economic turmoil.
Cross-border e-commerce reached $4 billion in Russia last year as the number of shipments from abroad rose 75 percent to 70 million parcels, according to researcher East-West Digital News. Chinese Internet companies accounted for 70 percent of the volume and half of value, according to East-West Digital data.
JD.com signed agreements to accept online payments in Russia via Qiwi Plc and OAO Sberbank’s Yandex.Money. Last month, JD.com agreed to use local express-delivery operator SPSR Express to ship goods to customers in the country.
Xu declined to elaborate on possible investments in Russia or provide sales targets.