Chinese online retail giant AliExpress left the disputed territory of Crimea off its updated online order form, frustrating residents of the Black Sea peninsula, the local Crimean news agency Krym Media reported Friday.
Initial reports of the order form change suggested that AliExpress, part of China's largest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group, was complying with Western sanctions that bar companies from working in Crimea.
The new form required customers to specify a region of Russia for delivery, but the list of shipping destinations did not include Crimea or its major coastal city of Sevastopol, both of which were annexed by Russia in March of last year, provoking sanctions from the West.
AliExpress later on Friday said the omissions were a mistake, and promised to fix the problem, the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing a company statement.
“Technical support is now dealing with the problem and suggests that the residents of Crimea use another method to submit the order,” the statement said, RIA reported. AliExpress in the statement provided users with a link to manually enter their Crimean addresses into the order form.
AliExpress, a global online marketplace linking Chinese businesses to consumers around the globe, is the most popular online retailer in Russia. In July, the number of visitors to the site reached 22 million people, the RBC news agency reported citing data from market research company TNS Russia.
Alibaba opened a Russian subsidiary in June to expand its presence in the country.