05:20 GMT30 March 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), China's largest e-commerce company Alibaba Group, Russia's MegaFon and Mail.Ru Group companies will close a deal on an electronic commerce joint venture on the first day of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Russia, an informed source told Sputnik.

    "On 5 June, the closure of the deal will be announced", the source said.

    In September 2018, RDIF and the three companies announced they would set up an e-commerce joint venture based on the AliExpress Pandao and businesses in Russia. The stake of Alibaba in the "AliExpress Russia" joint venture will be 48 per cent, while MegaFon will own 24 per cent, RDIF 13 per cent, and Mail.Ru Group 15 per cent.

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    Mail.Ru Group will reportedly contribute cash,  its e-commerce business Pandao, as well as distribution through integration with its products including social media platforms. RDIF will become a strategic member of AliExpress Russia.

    Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group and one of the richest people in China, told Sputnik last year that the company would have "more and more" joint projects with Russia in the future.

    Alibaba, founded in 1999, includes multiple online shopping websites, such as Taobao, AliExpress and Tmall. According to company statistics, AliExpress is the most visited e-commerce website in Russia.

    Alibaba has about 300 million active buyers, the majority in China, but with a growing number based in the United States.

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    joint venture, Alibaba Group, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Mail.ru Group, MegaFon, Russia
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