Ebay continues its expansion in Russia despite the fact the country is facing increasing Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The online marketplace was keen to reassure Europe’s largest internet base that the current situation will not halt the company’s growth within the country.
Ebays vice president, Wendy Jones, traveled to Moscow on Wednesday and stated that “Russia was … and remains today eBay marketplace’s number one priority for global expansion, and that’s why we are here today to continue to accelerate and improve the services that we are able to offer to our customers”.
As one of the worlds leading emerging markets, it is unlikely that many retailers will be too quick to pull out of the region. Russia is the 5th largest cross boarder market and according to a report released earlier this year (www.borderfree.com) it is a “Desirable market”. Russia certainly has a taste for foreign e-commerce, an article published by Russian publication RG.RU stated that the foreign e-commerce import market had grown by 50-70% as apposed to the internal market which had only grown by 17%.
However it is unlikely that the current political situation will encourage the growth. Just last week the USA imposed new sanctions on Russia and encouraged the European Union to do the same. Hostilities are rowing on both sides: Russia recently enforced a law which forces internet companies to store the personal data of Russian citizens on servers in Russia and they also plan to lower the limit on goods that qualify for duty free.
When asked whether Western sanctions against Russia would impact eBay’s emerging markets goals, Jones said:”I think those numbers are overall our ambitions for … emerging markets, and I certainly don’t think that specifically will impact these ambitions.”