Russia's Mail.ru jumps into crowded US messaging, games market

Big in Russia, Mail.ru hopes its mobile applications for the US will gain traction

Russia's Mail.ru Group made its first foray in the U.S market on Tuesday, launching three mobile applications.

Mail.ru Group, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, develops products centered around advertising. The company's revenue comes from display and contextual advertising in addition to selling so-called "value-added services," such as online games and virtual gifts.

The company, which has opened an office in Mountain View, California, counts 100 million Russian-speaking users of its social networking, messaging and online game applications. Its new website, "My.com," launched with three mobile products: myMail, myChat and myGames.

Mail.ru Group, which claims to run the world's fifth largest email platform in the world, is not offering an independent email product for the U.S. Instead, myMail is a mobile application for iOS and Android that lets users manage other email accounts from services such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL.

Its myChat is a video and text messaging mobile application for iOS and Android, and myGames is a portfolio of games including Jungle Heat, Poker Arena, Lucky Fields and Evolution.

Mail.ru Group has been a keen investor over the years in other technology companies. In November 2012, it sold its stakes in Groupon and Zynga and most of the 14.2 million Facebook shares it held. The company also holds a nearly 40 percent minority equity stake in VKontakte, a popular social network for Russian speakers.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

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