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Expert's view on the Russian electronic payments market

Our key expert in this report, Oleg Grishin — the CEO of Rapida, a Russian company, one of the key players in the nation's payments system industry shares his opinion about the current market trends, company’s history and unique services.

How would you, as a CEO of one of the leading companies in the industry, characterize the Russian electronic payments market today?

Today, this market has reached a certain level of saturation, but it still has tendency towards steady and uniform growth. However, emergence of completely new significant players on this market is unlikely today. The most probable scenario will be a situation when companies that are already operating on the market will be offering new products or trying to improve their existing ones.

What is the real demand for this type of payment service in Russia today?

The constant growth of the electronic payment services market for several years speaks for itself. Today, there is a new generation of young people that spend significant parts of their pastime and communications in various social networks. This tech-savvy category of young people needs comfortable and swift payment tools. Electronic money has become an easily accessible means of payment for goods and services. Today, it can be used to pay for almost everything that a person needs without going out of the house. Thanks to electronic money, one can manage his/her funds from a laptop, tablet, mobile phone for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round

Russia has just officially become a WTO member. In this regard, for your industry is this a step into an abyss because of unequal competition with market leaders, or a stimulus to faster development?

Russia's WTO accession is a significant event. I think it will benefit both the economy in general and our industry in particular. But I dont see it instigating major changes in both cases. The WTO accession will provide an additional boost to the local e-commerce market. Indeed, some experts have predicted more rapid growth for next year. Accordingly, this will positively impact on the payments market, including the electronic money segment. We already know that major international players in the industry, such as PayPal, for example, have huge interest in our market and some of them have already partially started working on entering Russia.

“Our strategic global goal is to be the market leader in our industry, and our marketing policy is aimed at achieving this goal. Were committed to further expansion of our product lines and geographical coverage.”

The WTO accession will contribute to the expansion of some foreign payment tools. But for our online retailers, the WTO membership will help decrease the cost of logistics, and this will be an additional incentive to faster growth and development. The payment services market should benefit from this, as it will increase the demand for more payments, and this will lead to further expansion of the range of means of payments and their further improvement.

Today, your company is one of the market leaders, a great feat, especially in unique conditions underwhich the Russian business operates. How would we explain this huge success?

Our company has now been on this market for 11 years. And, beginning in 2008, despite the crushing financial crisis, the company's turnover has been increasing rapidly to reach RUR200bn today. There are several reasons for this robust growth. First, we focus on innovations, and over these years weve tried to keep a finger on the pulse of this industrys technological developments. Rapida has the ability to respond quickly to market changes and requirements. Second, we strive to continually expanding our pool of partners. For us, each partner is valuable, irrespective of his/her current turnover and profit. Third, Rapida is a team of professionals and like-minded associates, who are fully result-oriented and share the strategic values and goals of the company. In addition, weve learnt to always make the most use out of each success and failure. If I'm not mistaken, Colin Powell once said, "There are no secrets to success. Success is the result of serious preparation, hard work and learning from mistakes."

Could you briefly highlight the essence of your companys marketing policy and the key focus areas of its implementation?

Our strategic global goal is to be the market leader in our industry, and our marketing policy is aimed at achieving this goal. Were committed to further expansion of our product lines, our geographical coverage, the number of consumers and finally strengthening our competitive advantages. I need to note here that we are developing in two main directions - B2B and B2C. Accordingly, the marketing strategy is being implemented in these two areas: in both cases, the policy is aimed at meeting all the needs of our partners and end users. Thus, as a part of our marketing strategies in the B2B segment, we often conduct marketing activities, promotions, incentive sales marketing, PR-campaigns, participations in trade shows and conferences. For the end consumers, we use promotional events, advertisements and direct sale marketing approaches, amongst others. Both areas require complex or comprehensive approaches and we try to maintain the right balance between them.

Beginning from 2008, and despite the crushing financial crisis, our turnover has been increasing rapidly to reach RUR200bn today. There are several reasons for this robust growth.

E-commerce is one of the fastest growing segments of the Russian economy, and Rapida is also working intensively in this area. What, if briefly put, is it doing to be a trendsetter in e-commerce?

The e-commerce market segment is growing rapidly and some analysts have predicted that its turnover will reach a record RUR1trln by 2015. Therefore, the development of instruments to pay for goods in online stores is one of our key priorities. Today, some of the most famous retail chains have installed the necessary tools for online payment for goods in their facilities. However, we continue to develop this project by increasing the number of payment channels. Our experts are preparing a separate product for online shops, which will consist of various payment instruments that are convenient for customers. Our key task here is to maximally simplify the online payment procedures for both customers and shops. Our communications with and feedbacks from partners have shown that online retailers are interested in this product and are actively involved in improving it. A striking example is the extension of online payment options in some retail outlets. Online stores usually want to obtain all the payment instruments from a single provider, and we are trying to meet such need. As a rule, Rapida is always flexible when dealing with issues relating to the needs and wishes of its partners.

Based on your personal experience, and taking into account the unique conditions prevailing in the Russian business environment, how would you formulate an ideal and successful business model for this industry?

An ideal business venture, though this may seem paradoxical, has to satisfy two conflicting requirements: it must be a large, stable and less vulnerable to competitors, and at the same time, has to be flexible, non-bureaucratic and highly competitive. The right combination of these features is our vision of an ideal business model. With this in mind, Rapida is trying to combine stability with flexibility and at the same time be highly competitive in the process. So far, we have succeeded in doing so.