Across China: A Russian girl's e-commerce dream in China

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-06 14:55:31|Editor: Liangyu
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XIAMEN, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Zarina Akeneva, 27, remembers her first experience shopping online in 2012 when she was a student in the University of Tyumen in her home country of Russia.

"I waited the whole month to receive a red phone case I bought online," she recalled. "Some of my friends bought clothes online in January and received them in summer."

Attracted by Chinese culture, Akeneva moved to China in 2013. After obtaining her master's degree from the School of Economics at Xiamen University three years ago, she decided to work for the e-commerce platform Umka to reshape the shopping habits of more people.

"China is developing so fast and has more opportunities than anywhere else," said Akeneva, who is in charge of business with Russian cooperators.

Umka brings Chinese products to Russia and Russian speaking countries. It was set up in 2014 by Wangji Group, a Chinese company based in Xiamen, east China's Fujian Province.

According to Zhang Xiaoyan, vice CEO of Umka, Wangji Group built a more than 20,000 square meters warehouse in Moscow and developed partnerships with over 20 local logistics companies in four years. A logistics network has been built covering areas from St.Petersburg to Vladivostok.

"It is a different story today," Akeneva said. "Previously, it took as long as a month for Chinese products to reach the doors of Russian buyers, but the new platform has shortened that to just a few days."

Umka has become one of the most popular online shopping platforms in Russia. Statistics showed that the number of registered customers on Umka exceeded 5 million in Russia and Russian speaking countries by 2019. Last year, its revenue soared 261 percent year on year over 2017.

Akeneva's work gives her a sense of achievement. "On the one hand, I am introducing more quality Chinese products to Russian consumers via the internet, reshaping people's shopping habits. On the other hand, I am sharing Russian culture to my friends in Xiamen," she said.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of China-Russia diplomatic ties.

Trade volume between China and Russia exceeded 100 billion U.S. dollars by mid-December 2018, a record high, according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

Cross-border e-commerce is an important new force to promote trade. Statistics released by the MOC showed that from January to September last year, the cross-border e-commerce trade between the two countries reached 3.7 billion U.S. dollars, up 23 percent year on year.

In recent years, China's e-commerce companies including Alibaba have been promoting localization in Russia.

"Chinese and Russian industries are largely complementary to each other, and I'm confident that the bilateral economic ties will be strengthened," Akeneva said.

In her spare time, Akeneva loves taking part in Chinese culture, especially kongfu tea, a cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of tea on the Wuyi Mountain.

"It's like magic," Akeneva said. "The procedures are so natural, which make me calm and relaxed."

Akeneva bought a tea set and is trying to master the kongfu tea-boiling procedures. "I would like to introduce this 'magic' to my family and friends."