A Russian-run online store on Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com thanked Chinese buyers for their support after selling out most items, including chocolate and fabric softener, saying it showed the friendship of the country in “difficult” times.
The online storefront of the “Russian State Pavilion” store, which says it is approved by the Russian Embassy in China, displayed several out-of-stock signs on products ranging from KDV candies to chocolate wafers. It also offered pre-sales for St. Petersburg vodka, at 528 yuan ($83.57) for six bottles.
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“Dear Chinese friends, thank you for your support of Russia and the Russian State Pavilion in these difficult times,” a man identifying himself as Sergey Batsev, a representative of the nonprofit Business Russia, said in a statement. short video published on the online store.
“We see the friendship of old Chinese friends in this complicated and ever-changing international situation.”
Local media reported that the video was released on Wednesday and the store saw a sudden surge in subscribers, from less than 100,000 on Wednesday morning to over 1 million on Thursday afternoon.
The store’s customer service declined to answer further questions. JD.com did not immediately respond to questions sent by Reuters.
China has refused to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine or call it an invasion, and has repeatedly called for a negotiated solution. Chinese social media users have overwhelmingly favored Russia’s stance in the conflict, with many blaming NATO expansion.
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On Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace, another popular e-commerce platform, some buyers of Russian chocolates left comments saying they made their purchase in support of Russia.
“Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah! Russia, add oil!” said one, using a popular Chinese expression of encouragement. “(I hope) people will buy more Russian products, supporting Russia is like supporting yourself.”
Although less common, there were also offline signs of people’s views on the war. On Wednesday, a billboard hanging outside the wall of the Canadian embassy in Beijing that read “We stand with Ukraine” was defaced with a red-painted message criticizing NATO.
The Canadian Embassy referred a question to Ottawa, which did not immediately respond. China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But there were also online protests in support of Ukrainian products. A customer of chocolate made by Ukrainian confectionery Roshen left a comment calling for support for Ukraine. “The Ukrainians will win!