Online marketplace eBay still sees Russia as its top priority in emerging markets, the company said Wednesday, directly contradicting media reports that harsh new laws and the possibility of sanctions could squeeze the company out of Russia.
"We said three years ago that the Russian marketplace is eBay's top priority in emerging markets. It was true then and it is true now," eBay deputy head Wendy Jones told a news conference dedicated to the signing of a memorandum with Russian Post, Reuters reported.
Several Russian media sources reported Tuesday that the company was concerned by the possibility that further international sanctions against Russia over its policy in Ukraine could result in major legal changes for international payment systems operating in Russia.
Interfax cited a copy of eBay's quarterly report as saying: "Such changes could make the continuation of our business in the Russian market expensive or complicated."
Earlier this year, Putin signed a law obliging international payment systems such as Visa and MasterCard to pay a massive security deposit in order to continue operations in Russia. Another bill signed into law yesterday will allow them to evade paying the deposit if they find a Russian partner to take over their operations by Oct. 31.
Jones's words and the memorandum signed Wednesday show that eBay is in no hurry to exit the burgeoning Russian e-commerce market, which is growing at an average yearly rate of 30 percent.
EBay began to service the Russian market in 2010 and launched its Russian headquarters in summer 2012. By the end of December 2013, the company was receiving about 90,000 orders a day from Russian customers, Interfax reported.
With the signing, eBay and Russian Post agree to work together to improve delivery times to Russia from key markets such as China, Britain, the United States and Germany, Gazeta.ru reported.
Poor delivery infrastructure is a classic barrier for Russian Internet retailers, many of whom have been forced to eschew state postal services in favor of faster in-house alternatives.
Material from Reuters is included in this report.