LinkedIn Banned in Russia

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By Marina Romanova

linkedin-banned-in-russiaSince Friday, November 17 LinkedIn is officially blocked for around 6 million Russians, who have accounts in the world’s largest job searching engine. Russia’s Roskomnadzor communications watchdog, told Interfax news agency on Thursday that the website would be blocked within 24 hours, and a number of Internet service providers appeared to have immediately begun blocking the website, according to media reports.

LinkedIn, which has its headquarters in the United States, is the first major social network to be blocked by Russian authorities, setting a precedent for the way foreign Internet firms operate.

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Apple Pay to Launch in Russia

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By Marina Romanova

013016_motor_tilke-vadapt-664-high-7510 Russian financial institutions including VTB 24, Alfa-Bank, Tinkoff Bank and Raiffeisen bank are planning to launch Apple Pay following the market leader, state owned Sberbank, which has launched Apple contactless payment service since last week, Russian media reports.

According to the, at launch, participating retailers include ATAK, Aushan, Azbuka Vkusa, BP, Magnit, Media Market, M.Video, TsUM and authorized Apple reseller re:Store. Touchless payments are expected to roll out at Electronics store Eldorado and Burger King in the near future.

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E-learning Market to Grow in Russia

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By Marina Romanova

gfk501Online education industry, also known as elearning, is growing fast in Russia, and according to the experts forecast, is expected to grow by 25 percent a year, Russian daily Kommersant reports. Statistics reveal that the world e-learning market is worth around US$107 billion and one of its major markets – Eastern Europe – is driven by Russia.

Although Russia, according to the J’son & Partners Consulting research, is responsible for only about US$162 million market share, nation e-learning market has a vast potential and continue to grow despite of the current economic crisis. Quite the contrary, the economic crisis is prompting more and more Russians to learn foreign languages. As many as 7.2 million Russians at least ones were enrolled in e-learning, Stanislav Korolkov, head of the Russian e-learning center Unibrains, told Kommersant daily.

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From Russia through Prism of ‘Prisma’

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By Marina Romanova, Russia’s leading LSE-listed Internet company, said Tuesday it had “became an investor in Prisma”, Russian and international media quoted Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, the owner of the firm, as saying. The news came out just over a week the new app hit the market. Mail.Ru reportedly bought a 10 percent stake amounts to US$2 million. The investment went through, Silicon Valley-based subsidiary launched in 2013.

Gagarin Capital, a California-based fund with Russian roots, and XBT, an international Internet hosting company also reported to participate in investment.

Prisma, the new iOS photo art app, was gone viral in post-Soviet states, including Russia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan the days after launch but has already garnered some 1.6 million downloads.

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Electronic Document Interchange: International Experience

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By Paul Sprague

For quite some time, there has been a movement in Europe and the United States towards creating an electronic document interchange (EDI) between companies that would reduce cost and improve accuracy in the long term. This movement was started with the implementation of communication standards in the mid 1980’s followed by legislative changes which gave credibility to such systems and then finally acceptance and implementation in the marketplace across a wide range of industries. Today, EDI is an integral part of many company’s operating structures. Some common examples are the insurance industry, credit bureaus and suppliers to retail outlets.

The insurance industry widely makes use of EDI. This process is initiated when the medical facility sends data about patients and services through secure channels to the insurance company for claims processing. The benefits of EDI are easily visible due to the volume of documents that are exchanged and the amount of data that is processed on a daily basis. EDI allows insurance companies to save money and to remain competitive and it has been widely adopted in this industry. Continue reading…

MTS Hopes to Save US$1 Billion Business in Uzbekistan

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Aug. 28 – Russia’s top mobile phone company MTS still hopes to save its US$1 billion business after losing its operating license in Uzbekistan, where four local managers have been detained and a campaign of intimidation against other staff of its Uzbek subsidiary is in a progress.

“Any way forward, as an integral part, needs to include the release of our people and the stopping of the intimidation and harassment campaign against our other employees,” a senior MTS executive told reporters.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov intervened to help to secure the release last week of MTS’s acting country manager, a Russian citizen, but four local managers remain in custody. Continue reading…

Social Networking in Russia’s Top 100 Banking Sector in 2011

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Russian banks explode onto social networks: popularity has increased by over 50 times the rate since last year

Dec. 27 – According to expert research published on December 21, the combined popularity of bank resources in Russia’s social networks (official Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc. ) has increased by over 50 times since last year. Every third bank out of the country’s Top-100 largest banks today has either established its official resources in social networks or is using new communication channels such as ICQ or Skype. This is almost twice as many as compared to 2010. The total number of subscribers of the largest banks’ official pages in 2011 has reached nearly half a million people.

The bank with the highest popularity (based on total number of subscribers) currently is UniCredit Bank, the Russian daughter of an Italy-based bank, with an audience of about 300,000 people. UniCredit Bank is also leading in the number of subscribers on Facebook and its Russian look-alike Vkontakte. Among Twitter accounts, the first place currently belongs to Yekaterinburg’s SKB-Bank. OTP Bank Russia (daughter of Hungary’s OTP) and Kazan-based AK Bars are the most widely represented banks on various social networks. Continue reading…

Russia Briefing Now Accessible in Mobile App

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Free app brings Russia Briefing to your fingertips

Dec. 16 – The brand new Asia Briefing mobile application brings the latest business news and foreign investment insights from Russia Briefing web site right to your fingertips.

The free app integrates with legal and tax regulatory updates from Dezan Shira & Associates, along with China, India, Vietnam, Mongolia Briefings, and (for emerging Asia). With hourly updates, it helps you stay on top of Asia’s dynamic investment environments. Continue reading…

Russia to Attract More Foreign Investment

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Sept. 20 – Foreign investors are optimistic about Russia’s future attractiveness, according to Ernst & Young’s first Russia Attractiveness Survey published on the company’s web site.

A total of 75 percent of international business leaders interviewed by Ernst & Young said Russia had an attractive domestic market, with about one-third of them calling it “very attractive,” the consulting company said in the survey. Continue reading…

Russian Companies Continue to Expand Abroad

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May 17 – Russia’s third biggest mobile phone company VimpelCom has agreed to a US$420 million deal to buy New Telephone Company (NTC) from South Korea’s KT Corp and Summit Telecom Global Management, Sumitomo Corporation’s subsidiary.

VimpelCom said it planned to close the 90 percent acquisition within four weeks. After the acquisition, the company is planning on launching a mandatory buyout offer according to Russian law to purchase the remaining 10 percent of the NTC shares. The completion of the deal is expected in the third quarter of 2011. Continue reading…

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