500+ Russian Companies to Present Products in Alibaba.com Online Expo

Over 500 Russian Companies to Present Products in Alibaba.com Online Expo
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Alibaba.com - the global online platform for wholesalers and buyers - is holding its first online exhibition of Russian goods and services. The opening ceremony took place on 29 September. More than 500 exporters from different regions are presenting their products.
During the exhibition's two weeks, potential importers from all over the world will be able to find suppliers of various Russian goods, ranging from high-tech fitness equipment, professional cosmetics, and non-alcoholic drinks, to pharmaceutical products, hand-made candles and even musical instruments. The Russian Export Centre, which has been working with Alibaba since 2018, is helping Russian companies to find new opportunities.
Alexey Murzin, Director of the Russian Export Centre's Development of Electronic Commerce, tells us what the future holds for Russian exporters and what they can expect from the online exhibition.
Sputnik: The online exhibition is at present underway - could you tell us more about this online format and why the exhibition is unique?
Alexey Murzin: This is the first exhibition held especially for Russian producers and sellers. This is an awesome event, in which more than 500 Russian companies are involved. The agreement with Alibaba Group wasn't, however, spontaneous and was only reached after a memorandum of cooperation was signed at SPIEF-2021.
It’s necessary to mention, that within the framework of this exhibition the number of page displays with Russian goods and services is expected to increase three to four times. That’s what the Alibaba group has promised to Russian exporters, and there’s no reason not to believe this estimate. This is a huge stream that must be taken advantage of.
© Sputnik / Pavel Bednyakov / Go to the mediabankRussian Export Centre
Russian Export Centre - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.10.2021
Russian Export Centre
Sputnik: But what does it actually look like? When we talk about an ordinary exhibition, everything is quite clear - every company has its stall, where a company’s representatives exhibit their products and so on. But how does this work online? Is there a web page for each company?
Alexey Murzin: Basically, the exhibition is a huge marketplace for companies, including Russian ones. In general, more than 200 countries are engaged. Every company has its own page, where its products are sold. A company can add a product description, upload a video, and so on. The exhibition’s format allows firms to place their products on the marketplace's main pages; also, there will be an advertisement banner. Furthermore, Alibaba has agreed to attract additional internet traffic to these pages. Thus, if, say, a chemical company which used to received 10 requests per week, is exhibiting, then at this exhibition it should expect 4 to 5 times as many requests.
Sputnik: What are the key products Russian producers will present at the exhibition besides chemicals?
Alexey Murzin: It may sound surprising, but Russian musical instruments are in high demand. There are companies that specialise in the production of musical instruments and they export almost all their products. This is why Alibaba is so unique. Everything you need is there: pharmaceutical products, essential oils, products for children, fitness equipment, and much more.
Sputnik: The Chinese market is very important for Russian producers. What are the main obstacles faced by Russian producers and what are the specific things about the market? How easy is it for our products to reach Chinese consumers?
© AP Photo / Elizabeth Dalziel, FileChinese customers shop at one of the Chinese outlets of the U.S.-based Wal-Mart stores in Beijing, China Thursday Oct. 12, 2006
Chinese customers shop at one of the Chinese outlets of the U.S.-based Wal-Mart stores in Beijing, China Thursday Oct. 12, 2006 - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.10.2021
Chinese customers shop at one of the Chinese outlets of the U.S.-based Wal-Mart stores in Beijing, China Thursday Oct. 12, 2006
Alexey Murzin: I want to consider this question in two parts, but first, I would make another comment: Alibaba.com caters not only to China but the whole world. It works with companies from more than 200 countries. So it’s not just about the Chinese market, which is, indeed, very competitive and all the leading brands are represented there. Today’s China has high wages, and it can be quite challenging to remain competitive.
But Russian products are still able to find a niche in the Chinese market and can compete with goods that are already there and with the companies that entered the market earlier.
There are a number of reasons for that. On the one hand, China sees Russia as a green country, and Russia tends to have more inexpensive products than its competitors. On the other hand, the two countries share a border of a few thousand kilometres. Therefore, delivery costs are not as expensive as to the United States or the European Union.
Sputnik: How would you advise Russian producers and small Russian enterprises to enter the Chinese market? What should they do to expand their sales through international markets?
Alexey Murzin: To enter the Chinese market, first a producer must register a trademark as a Russian legal entity. This is essential. Otherwise, Chinese distributors or final buyers will register Russian products in their own names. It doesn't mean Chinese partners are unscrupulous. Under Chinese legislation, goods must have a trademark when crossing the border.
So, exporters need to register their products themselves. Another essential step is marketing research. You can simply check the website Taobao and see whether similar products to yours are already in demand, figure out how your goods should be priced how they can be best presented because something like your product is probably already available in China.
Alibaba Group - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.10.2021
Alibaba Group
As the Chinese say: "if your goods are not on sale, they do not exist on the market". Taobao has everything you need. You must decide how to present your product to Chinese consumers. You have to understand: everything that isn’t written using Chinese characters is difficult to understand and doesn’t appear interesting for Chinese consumers.
Sputnik: For instance, I've heard that Chinese people call "Prostokvashino" [yoghurt] a blue cat, and, as far as one can tell, it's always necessary to change a product's name to sell it in China.
Alexey Murzin: Yes, of course. The most illustrative example is "Alyonka" chocolate, which has been sold in China since the Soviet era. They call it 'girl with a big head'. Everybody became used to it, and it’s a good name, with good sales. So, while choosing the name for your product, you might want to ask some Chinese partners to help make it proper and interesting.
Alexey Murzin, Director for the Russian Export Centre's Development of Electronic Commerce, was telling us about the unique online exhibition of Russian goods and services on the global Internet platform Alibaba.com. Interview by Tatyana Golovanova, Radio Sputnik.
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