VTB and Alibaba are ready to cooperate

The deal will combine the competencies of the participants.
Three people close to the negotiators told about the negotiations of the Russian bank and one of the largest Internet trading companies in the world to Vedomosti. According to one of them, the negotiations have been going on for several months: "VTB is interested in creating a digital platform, not to lag behind Sberbank in this direction. VTB has strong logistics (Russian Post), an offline network of branches, financial competencies, cooperation with Alibaba would help add missing competencies. "

VTB's partnership with Alibaba is interesting both as a financial investment in a growing project and as an opportunity to provide financial services to sellers who trade through Alibaba, another interlocutor of Vedomosti explains.

Alibaba, according to a person close to one of the negotiators, a partnership with VTB would provide insurance against risks in zeroing in Russia the threshold for duty-free importation from abroad of purchases made online. "The Russian market for Alibaba is one of the largest outside of China, the company may not be against the help of a large local partner. The State Bank for the Chinese company is an understandable partner, a financial platform, "he lists.

The representative of Alibaba in Russia declined to comment. The press service of VTB reported that the bank does not negotiate a joint venture with Alibaba.

At the end of May, Vneshtorgbank's Andrei Kostin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum announced that the bank could be a financial partner of such a company as Alibaba. "And we are working on this now in Russia, working with Russian companies, with Russian Post, with the largest Russian retailers," Kostin said, "creating systems for the provision of services and sales of goods."

About two years ago, negotiations on a joint venture in Russia Alibaba led with Sberbank. According to "Kommersant" at the beginning of 2017, the parties expected to conclude the negotiations in the first half of the year, the partnership would allow the joint venture to become the largest player in the market of cross-border Internet commerce in Russia. But, as the Financial Times reported, the parties did not agree on the principles of work and control over the joint venture.

In April, Sberbank closed the deal with "Yandex" - the online trading platform "Yandex.Market" became a parity joint venture. "We want to build a Russian Amazon on the basis of Yandex.Market, and I very much hope that everything will work out," said German Gref, president of Sberbank.

Chinese AliExpress (owned by Alibaba) is one of the largest online shopping sites for Russians. According to the Association of Internet Trade Companies (ACIT), AliExpress has the largest audience in Russia - more than 20 million people in 2017. According to the executive director of ACIT Artem Sokolov, purchases in Chinese online stores account for about 52% of all foreign purchases of Russians , about 60% - purchases on AliExpress, this is about 116 billion rubles. in 2017, Yandex.Market, according to the annual report of the Savings Bank, in 2017, sold goods worth 150 billion rubles., and the target figure, which the site must reach in five years, is 500 billion rubles.

Other banks are interested in projects in the field of digital economy. In early May, Gazprombank, Megafon, Rostekh and USM Holdings Alisher Usmanov announced the creation of a joint venture into which Megafon will contribute the Mail.ru Group (5.23% of the economic share, which gives 58.87% of the vote). The goal is to create a platform to form an entire ecosystem based on fundamentally new digital financial instruments, the general director of USM Management Ivan Streshinsky told Vedomosti.

Banks of partnership with online sites allow you to combine financial competencies with the knowledge of Internet companies in the field of large data, says Frank Research Group CEO Yuri Gribanov.

Banks know everything about incomes, expenses, customer loans, places they like to visit, including stores, the marketplace, in turn, knows everything about its traffic, the average check, can appreciate the popularity of the product category, says Sokolov. "That's why there are more and more projects, where banks and sites begin to integrate databases and customize the client service. Only those who know the client in person and can provide the services that he currently needs, assessing his solvency, will win in this market, "concludes Sokolov.