India and Russia news: Russian consumer firms head to India as Western brands pull the plug

Russian e-commerce platforms Ozon and Yandex Market, Pharmstandard food supplement company, distributor of dental products Simkodent, largest food retailer X5 Retail Group, and flagship UNICONF confectionery are among the many Russian companies that have reached out to India to establish business ties amid Moscow’s conflict with Kyiv .

Due to the conflict and sanctions against Russia, many European and American brands have stopped supplying their goods including consumer electronics and clothing to that country.

“Many Russian companies have reached out because they have a great interest in doing business with India, but there are concerns on both sides especially about payment,” said one of the officials.

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Yandex Market, which is involved in imports, logistics, customs clearance, warehousing and distribution of goods, explores the possibilities of sourcing clothing and fashion, toys, bed linen, home decor, textile fabrics, consumer electronics, kitchenware, tea and leather products. From India, according to an industry source.

The company responded to an e-mail query from ET: “Yandex market has been exploring various opportunities for global supply since the beginning of 2022.”

“At the moment, we continue to focus on this flow, with the aim of providing Yandex Market customers with a unique assortment and opening the Russian market to brands from all over the world, including goods from India,” she added.

Food retailer X5 told ET that it is interested in expanding its collaboration with Indian suppliers of beverages, seafood, tea, coffee, dandelion, rice, canned food, kitchenware and fresh grapes, among others.

“X5 Group representatives will be visiting India in the last week of April, and we are currently planning event stages,” an X5 Group representative said in an email response.

Currently, X5 buys goods in more than 60 countries around the world.

India is currently one of the top 20 countries in terms of the volume of imports of the X5 group. “In the near future, we plan to increase the supply of Indian goods which are economically useful for imports,” the representative said.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry earlier sought details of all exporters whose payments have been suspended in Russia, the non-tariff barriers and market access issues they face there and the items they want to export to Russia.

Indian exporters have received about half or $200 million in payments that have been pending since last month in Russia.

According to another official, major e-commerce company Ozon has expressed interest in branding Indian products on its platform. The company advertises the products offered by merchants on its platform and charges a commission when a transaction is made between the foreign seller and the end customer.

“UNICONF has expressed an interest in certain agricultural products,” said the industry representative.

UNICONF or United Confectioners is the largest confectionery holding company in Eastern Europe and a leader in the Russian confectionery market.

“At least five pharmaceuticals, medical devices and equipment companies are inquiring about supplies from India,” another industry representative said, adding that some need help getting suppliers for some particular drugs while others want to distribute them.

Emails sent to other companies remained unanswered.

A source in the textile industry said a buyer in Moscow had expressed interest in buying polyester threads from India and reducing its dependence on its existing suppliers in Germany, China, Turkey and Italy.