Yandex Set to Expand into European Car-Sharing Market

Russian tech giant Yandex plans to expand its car-sharing offerings into Europe as other companies in the space retreat, according to a report by the Financial Times.

The company will put 1,000 electric vehicles in an unspecified city in the EU, according to Anton Ryazanov, an executive at the company. Madrid and Copenhagen are reportedly being considered, as well as cities in France and Italy.

Yandex’s founded its car-sharing service in early 2018, when it merged its Russia and CIS operations with U.S. giant Uber. The company says it is the largest car-sharing organization in the world, with 21,000 cars in Russia.

Ryazanov said the company has been able to scale so quickly because it has experience in the search engine market and its ride-sharing app Yandex.Taxi has helped it to grow.

“This has all been automated from the beginning. We knew our fleet was going to grow intensively, so we couldn’t afford to put people in that value chain,” he said.

Some analysts, including those at UBS, expect Yandex, which has a valuation of $600 million, to double its revenues by the end of the year. The business will be profitable in “the next few years,” Ryazanov said, and the company may start selling subscriptions to help increase numbers.

Russia’s car-sharing market grew five times in 2018 to reach $110 million, and it attracts about 229,000 users per month. The largest market in the world is in Moscow, with 30,000 cars.

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