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Yandex Is Starting to Look More Like Amazon as It Diversifies

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Jun. 14 2018, Updated 7:30 a.m. ET

Yandex stirs up competition in the smart speaker market

Yandex’s (YNDX) attempts to break into new markets beyond its core business of providing online search engine services are starting to make it look more like Amazon (AMZN). Last month, the company joined Amazon, Google (GOOGL), Apple, and Alibaba (BABA) in the smart speaker market with the launch of its own smart speaker product called Yandex Station.

Amazon has pioneered the smart speaker category of consumer electronics and has dominated the category since 2014, when its flagship Echo smart speaker came out. But the entry of the likes of Yandex into the smart speaker business now means that Amazon is under intense pressure to defend its market share.

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Yandex.Plus is Yandex’s answer to Amazon Prime

Beyond challenging Amazon in the smart speaker market, Yandex has also come up with its own version of Amazon Prime, which it calls Yandex.Plus. Like Prime, Yandex.Plus is a bundled subscription service that offers an array of perks such as free delivery for Yandex.Market shoppers, discounts on various Yandex products, and a variety of digital entertainment services.

Yandex.Plus, initially available in Russia, costs $2.75 per month. An Amazon Prime subscription costs $12.99 per month or $119 per year.

Yandex is gunning for marketplace revenue

Yandex.Market is the brand name of Yandex’s online marketplace. Amazon, eBay (EBAY), and Alibaba also run online marketplaces. Although marketplace operators primarily make money by charging traders to run virtual shops on their platforms, they also make money by offering other services, such as advertising and supplying credit to traders.

As more online shoppers have been moving their product searches to marketplaces from search engines, venturing into the marketplace business seems like a natural move for Yandex.

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