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Open Market Sesame: Russian Business to Reap Rewards From Alibaba

© REUTERS / Aly Song/FilesThe logo of Alibaba Group is seen inside the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province early in this November 11, 2014 file photo
The logo of Alibaba Group is seen inside the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province early in this November 11, 2014 file photo - Sputnik International
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If the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is able to offer fair lending conditions, it will be of great help to ordinary Russians, Dmitry Zhuravlev, head of the Institute of Regional Problems in Russia, told the internet newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa.

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In an interview with the news site Svobodnaya Pressa, Dmitry Zhuravlev, head of the Institute of Regional Problems in Russia, said that ordinary Russians would benefit if the Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba was able to propose agreeable lending conditions.

The interview came after reports emerged that the financial division of Alibaba, Ant Financial Services Group, is in talks with Russian banks on the possibility of lending to small businesses in Russia, according to the company's head of foreign business Jia Han.

"Everything will depend on the [lending] conditions that are offered by Alibaba. If the Chinese come with good conditions and in normal amounts, it will greatly support ordinary people. The lack of cheap loans to small businesses remains one of the most pressing problems of the Russian economy," Zhuravlev said.

If a micro-credit system is developed in Russia, it will create more jobs in the country, he went on to say, referring to ordinary Russian farmers who now desperately need money for doing business.

© REUTERS / Brendan McDermid/FilesSpecialist traders work at the post that trades Alibaba Group Holding Ltd during the company's initial public offering (IPO) under the ticker "BABA" at the New York Stock Exchange in New York in this September 19, 2014 file photo
Specialist traders work at the post that trades Alibaba Group Holding Ltd during the company's initial public offering (IPO) under the ticker BABA at the New York Stock Exchange in New York in this September 19, 2014 file photo - Sputnik International
Specialist traders work at the post that trades Alibaba Group Holding Ltd during the company's initial public offering (IPO) under the ticker "BABA" at the New York Stock Exchange in New York in this September 19, 2014 file photo

Zhuravlev was echoed by Andrey Bunich, president of the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and Tenants, who praised Alibaba's possible foray into the Russian lending market.

"Russian business is in need of a micro-credit system. If such a powerful platform as Alibaba lends to [Russia's] small and medium businesses in the future, it will be a good thing," he pointed out.

At present, Ant Financial provides credit services to small business in China, which amount to an average of 5,000 dollars.

"We are currently considering such a possibility for Russia as well. We are constantly in contact with the Russian partner-banks, and this issue is also being discussed," Jia told RIA Novosti earlier this year.

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Ant Financial has already issued loans to 2 million small and medium-sized businesses in China. The company is implementing two programs, namely lending to small and medium-sized businesses, and providing financial support to farmers.

Founded in 1999, Alibaba includes multiple online shopping websites, such as Taobao, AliExpress and Tmall. According to the company’s statistics, for the last year ended in March, Alibaba’s revenue amounted to more than 15.3 billion dollars.

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