Western Balkans citizens legally resident in EU equal to 14% of region’s population
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has stripped Belarus of the right to hold the World Championship this year
Alexei Navalny arrested on arrival as he returns home
LONG READ: The oligarch problem
MOSCOW BLOG: Has Navalny started a revolution?
Russia's biggest demonstrations since 2011 in protest against Navalny jailing
Opposition activist Navalny's call for mass protests a success as thousands take to the streets across Russia
Russia's National Welfare Fund accounts for almost 12% of GDP
NBU keeps key policy rate at 6%, worsens CPI outlook
Western Balkans and Ukraine urged to scrutinise coal subsidies
Oligarchs trying to derail Ukraine’s privatisation programme, warns the head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund
VISEGRAD BLOG: Central Europe's populists need a new strategy for Biden
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Czech MPs pass protectionist food law in violation of EU rules
M&A in Central and Eastern Europe fell 16% in value in 2020, says CMS report
Hungarian vehicle makers hit by supply chain shortage
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
BALKAN BLOG: Superstition and resentment surround vaccination plans
Albania needs reforms for e-commerce to thrive, says World Bank
BALKAN BLOG: US approach to switch from quick-fix dealmaking to experience and cooperation
Bosnia's exports in 2020 amounted to BAM10.5bn, trade deficit to BAM6.3bn
Retailers and restaurant owners threaten protests in Bulgaria if reopening is delayed
Bulgaria's Biodit first company to IPO on new BEAM market
Bulgaria’s government considers gradual easing of COVID-related restrictions
Spring lockdown caused spike in online transactions in Croatia
ING: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
North Macedonia plans to cut personal income tax in IT sector to zero in 2023
Romania government to pursue “ambitious” timetable for justice reforms
Private finance mobilised by development banks up 9% to $175bn in 2019
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovenia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
D’S Damat franchise deals ‘show Turkey’s hard-pressed mall operators becoming their own tenants’
Turkey’s benchmark rate held as concerns over faltering recovery come to fore
Turkish lira breaches HSBC’s stop-loss, Turkey ETF signalling outflows
CAUCASUS BLOG : What can Biden offer the Caucasus and Stans, all but forgotten about by Trump?
Armenia ‘to extend life of its 1970s Metsamor nuclear power plant after 2026’
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Iran’s Khamenei menaces private citizen Trump with image of aircraft shadowing blond golfer
Iran’s technology minister indicted for failing to properly implement internet censorship
No US move to rejoin Iran nuclear deal imminent, say Biden national security nominees
TEHRAN BLOG: Will Biden bet on a quick return to the Iran nuclear deal?
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
Mongolia's PM quits amid protests over treatment of mother with coronavirus and newborn baby
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
Download the pdf version
A former top executive of Casino Group, a major French retail group, and advisor to the CEOof Æon Group, Japan’s largest retailer, Gabriel Naouri is Chairman of the Board of Yandex.Market. This Yandex-Sberbank joint venture, agreed in 2017, owns three e-commerce platforms: Yandex Market, a popular e-commerce aggregation and price comparison platform launched in 2002; Beru, an integrated marketplace for domestic purchases; and Bringly, another marketplace designed for cross-border orders, the two latter being launched just months ago.
Naouri shared with East-West Digital News his views about the Russian e-commerce market, its challenges, opportunities, and accessibility to foreign players. This interview is an excerpt from EWDN’s international report on Russian e-commerce, which will be released in June 2019.
What is your vision of the Russian e-commerce market and its prospects? How does it compare with that of France or other countries
The Russian market offers huge opportunities. With a population of 150mn people and an Internet penetration of nearly 80%, the potential is unique. Now is the right time to build market share. As a comparison, the top four players account for 75-80% of the market in the US, China or France. In Russia it is less than 25%. This fragmentation offers a unique opportunity for Yandex.Market.
What are the main challenges for players to grow on this market?
Some of them are common with other markets. The main difference is territory size. In a country of over 17mn sq. km., given its current infrastructure, your logistic strategy cannot be identical in all regions. It is a differentiated and step-by-step process that requires to have a clear strategic vision; otherwise you could spend trillions of rubles building little-efficient logisitic capacities.
How open is Russia, in your view, to international players?
Very open. For players like Auchan or BlaBlacar, Russia is a key market. [Naouri refers to the huge success of these French companies on the Russian market, since 2002 and 2014, respectively, where they generate more revenues or activity than in any other market, including their home country in the case of Blablacar – editor]
What is the long-term strategy of Yandex.Market? How do you envision its position in three to five years?
Our goal is to see 1) Beru become the leading marketplace in Russia, 2) Bringly become a leading cross-border marketplace and 3) YandexMarket maintain its leadership among price comparison sites.
What are the best assets of Yandex and Sberbank in this endeavor, and, which could be the most challenging obstacles?
Our two main shareholders are providing strategic assets, including tangible and intangible ones. Experience, AI labs, talents, more than 14,000 banks locations, calculation capacity, capital, a global presence and the list goes on. Arkady Volozh [Yandex’s co-founder and CEO] and Herman Gref [Sberbank’s CEO] have given the management the means to fulfill our ambition.
The list of obstacles is long as well – but in business, this is part of the game.
What is the company’s financial strategy? Could the joint venture be open to new investors? Are there plans to go public?
As you know we play in a very competitive market and therefore I’ll keep these answers for myself for the moment.
How did you become a board member of Yandex.Market? How do you envision your role and contribution there?
Both shareholders [Yandex and Sberbank] suggested I joined the new venture, due to my experience in both retail and e-commerce in Europe, Asia and the US. At the board level, my role is to lead the board works and devise the strategy with the shareholders. At the management level, I try to be the best possible sparring partner to Max Grishakov, Yandex.Market’s CEO, and help him with strategic recruitments and projects. My role here is to facilitate things.
You’ve invested in e-commerce company Boxed.com, medical apparel brand Jaanuu and health & wellness platform Tictrac. What are your investment criteria, and how do you work with entrepreneurs?
I’ve been working in retail and e-commerce for the last 15 years. More than investing, I help entrepreneurs build fast-growing companies with an international potential. I share with them my international experience, my operational expertise and my network. When I invest, I tend to partner with large international family offices or US and European VC funds. Usually I invest only in categories I know well e.g. apparel, food, e-commerce, marketplaces, retail tech. It would be great to see more Russian wealthy individuals invest in fast-growing companies.
here to continue reading this article
and 5 more for free or purchase
12 months full website access including
the bne Magazine for just $250/year.
Register to read the bne monthly magazine for
Password could contain only
and have 8-20 symbols length.
Please complete your registration by confirming your
A confirmation email has been sent to the email
address you provided.
can't be empty.
No user with
this email address.
Access recovery request has expired, or you are using
the wrong recovery token. Please, try again.
Access recover request has expired.
Please, try again.
To continue viewing our content you need to complete
the registration process.
Please look for an email that was sent to
with the subject line
"Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have
instructions on how to complete registration
process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in
case this communication was misdirected in your
If you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry, but you have used all your free articles fro
this month for bne IntelliNews. Subscribe
to continue reading for only $119 per year.
Your subscription includes:
For the meantime we are also offering a free
digital weekly newspaper to subscribers to
the online package.
Click here for more subscription options,
including to the print version of our
flagship monthly magazine:
Take a trial to our premium daily news
service aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging
For any other enquiries about our
products or corporate discounts please
contact us at
If you no longer wish to receive
Magazine annual print
Website & Archive
Combined package: web
access & magazine print
Take a trial to our premium daily news service
aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging Europe: