Russia's Mail.Ru to launch global expansion with online games

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 30, 2012 12:24 PM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian email-to-social networking group Mail.Ru is targeting online gamers as it prepares to launch services in foreign markets under the '' name.

"Games is what we can begin to enter new markets with," Dmitry Grishin, the chief executive officer of Mail.Ru Group, told reporters on Tuesday.

The company, part-owned by metals tycoon Alisher Usmanov, did not elaborate on its international plans, saying only that it has been testing various products in foreign markets for more than six months.

It has previously focused on the domestic, Russian-language market.

Rival internet group Yandex has already expanded to Turkey and Czech Republic and said recently it would take the fight against Google in other emerging markets to offset the inroads made by the U.S. giant in its home market.

Mail.Ru operates two of the three largest Russian language social networks, Odnoklassniki and Moi Mir, instant messaging networks Mail.Ru Agent and ICQ and email service

It also has a 1.17 percent stake in U.S. game maker Zynga, a 0.75 percent stake in social networking site Facebook and 4.12 percent of shares in daily deal website Groupon.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)