RUSSIA – Alibaba Group’s logistics operator, Cainiao and Russia’s Pochta postal service have launched their first direct China-Russia cargo flights to deliver AliExpress goods purchased online by Russians, AliExpress Russia has revealed.

The move, which AliExpress Russia hopes will help it cut the time it takes to deliver orders from China to Russia to 10 days, comes at a time when the country’s e-commerce market is experiencing rapid growth generating more than US$14 billion in revenues annually.

Under the new partnership, Alibaba’s Cainiao logistics operator is renting 7 cargo planes from Pochta Russia and Aviastar-Tu to fly to the cities of Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Krasnoyarsk on a daily basis.

In October, Alibaba through its mobile payments arm, Alipay entered into a joint venture known as AliExpress Russia with Russian internet company Mail.Ru along with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and mobile network operator Megafon.

Russian news agency Tass reported early this month that Alibaba and RDIF would each inject $100 million into the joint venture and that Alibaba would also contribute its existing AliExpress business in Russia to the venture.

Head of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, said the partnership with Alipay will provide access to e-commerce services for more than half of the population of Russia, while suppliers from the country obtain access to one and a half billion users in China and around the world.

According to Alibaba, the joint venture where it has a 48 percent stake, will allow it to accomplish in Russia what it couldn’t do on its own.

The Russian joint venture is part of Alibaba’s efforts to broaden its international presence as the company looks to overseas markets to support its growth and the current partnership with Pochta will bolster its market presence in Russia.