Ozon, one of the first e-commerce companies in Russia, will open a representative office in Shenzhen. The company plans to attract 100,000 Chinese merchants with operations on the platform and expand the transaction volume of goods from the country tenfold by 2024, Russian media reported on November 21.
Founded in 1998, Ozon is Russia’s leading multi-category e-commerce platform and one of its largest internet companies. Initially, Ozon was a self-operated retailer of books before expanding into consumer electronics. This development path is similar to Amazon, so it has also won the nickname of “Russian Amazon.”
Ozon debuted on the Nasdaq in 2020, once achieving a market value of $15 billion. It is the only Russian e-commerce firm listed in the US. Ozon started attracting international merchants in 2020, and currently has more than 10,000 sellers from 45 countries.
The firm said that the volume of China’s cross-border trade market in the first half of 2022 exceeded $1 trillion, which is the key development direction of the company. At present, 90% of the products on the platform come from Chinese sellers. There are more than 10,000 registered Chinese merchants on the platform, and as of the third quarter of 2022, the transaction volume has tripled compared with the same period last year.
Ozon believes there is a huge demand for Chinese goods in Russia because of the variety and attractive prices. 95% of Ozon Global’s orders are Chinese goods, including smartphones, laptops, small home appliances and clothing. Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Neatsvor, Micro-Star International and Asus are very popular in Russia.
In order to pave the way for Chinese sellers to operate on Ozon, the firm has launched special payment and logistics solutions. Through cooperation with LianLian Pay, users can directly price and collect in RMB or USD. In addition, Ozon is the only company that provides fintech services among all Russian e-commerce platforms.
In the logistics process, merchants can choose the third-party logistics service providers that Ozon cooperates with to deliver goods. After entering Russia, Ozon guarantees that deliveries can be completed across the whole country in two to five days. The company will also open a “fulfillment by Ozon” service to Chinese sellers in the first quarter of 2023, which is expected to greatly shorten the delivery time.
As the most populous country in Europe, Russia has a huge consumer population, and its e-commerce scale in 2021 was 4.1 trillion rubles ($67 billion), ranking ninth in the global e-commerce market. There are many reasons for maintaining such rapid growth, including the construction of local logistics infrastructure, increasing online supply, the development of consumers’ online buying habits and the pandemic.
This year, the development of Russian e-commerce has also been affected by various special factors. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused a surge in purchasing demand of Russian consumers in the first quarter and a large number of offline stores of international brands have withdrawn from the country. According to a report by Brands Factory, some industry insiders predict that by the end of the year, the Russian e-commerce market will exceed $70 billion.