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Wikimart co-founder and CEO Maxim Faldin: “Virtually all Russian legitimate e-commerce companies are unprofitable”

Launched in 2008 by Stanford graduates Maxim Faldin and Kamil Kurmakaev, Wikimart had the initial ambition of creating a Russian analog of eBay. Funded initially by major US investment funds, then by Russian investors, the startup has now become a major marketplace offering its own products alongside nearly 2 million items from over 1,000 merchants.

 

In a recent interview with Russian online publication Slon.ru, Faldin speaks frankly about the widespread “grey commerce” practice in the industry, the financial challenges of Russian e-commerce companies in a context of international tensions, and the growing competition from Chinese retailers. Here are the main excerpts from this interview.

 

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