"Over recent years, the Russian e-commerce market has been developing rapidly. The numbers show that in the first half of 2016, the total volume of e-commerce reached $6.3 billion in Russia, which is 26 percent above the same period in 2015. It thus became the fastest-growing sector in the retail industry in Russia… [China] intends to constantly deepen cooperation between the two countries in the e-commerce sector," Sun said.
The volume of Chinese-Russian trade over the internet has reached $1.15 billion, he added, noting that the development of the sector has played a positive role in boosting trade relations between the two countries.
The spokesman stressed that Chinese e-commerce companies that have been opening offices in Russia have contributed to a turnaround in Russia's economy.
The businesses "play an active role in satisfying Russians' consumer demand, stimulating medium and small business and reanimating that Russian consumer market," Sun said.
Russia's internet trade with China has rocketed over recent years, with e-commerce cross-border transactions so far dominated by imports from China. Access to the Russian market has been driven by companies such as the Alibaba Group and its massive consumer-to-consumer (C2C) network Taobao, which have been opening business in the country. In 2016, Alibaba Russia announced plans to expand its presence on the Russian market, working with local businesses and improving shipment services. The company's financial services branch has been mulling plans to lend to Russian businesses.
Progress has also been made in the reverse direction, with Russia developing a joint e-commerce trading platform in China to sell its goods on the Chinese market. The idea was floated by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015, with Alibaba voicing support for the initiative. The first platform opened in February last year in Harbin. The platform offers a variety of goods, including metal products, machinery, food and fur.
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