Russia's Mail.ru rebrands as VK, eyeing boost for online services


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MOSCOW, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Russian internet group Mail.ru Group MAILRq.L said on Tuesday it was rebranding as VK, the initials of its social network VKontakte, and would rename a number of its services to incorporate the new brand.

The company's move to consolidate its services under one name mirrors a wider trend among large Russian firms, including tech giant Yandex YNDX.O and lenders Sberbank SBER.MM and Tinkoff TCSq.L, to develop an "ecosystem" of online services.

"Today we have taken the decision to name our ecosystem, our group of companies, VK," Dobrodeev said in a video presentation.

The group's services range from email and education technology to gaming and ride-hailing. VK is one of Russia's most recognisable online brands, with users spending more than 1.1 billion minutes a day on the VKontakte social network, often referred to as Russia's Facebook.

"As opposed to Mail.ru Group, (the VK brand) will be used not only at the corporate level but also in our products, as its users were not always aware of their connection with each other," VK said in a statement.

Dobrodeev said the rebrand would not impact the operational structure of the business.

"We've never been a user brand, we were a corporate brand," Dobrodeev said. "Now some products will be completely renamed, all new products will be under the new brand, and old products will retain the brand but have a visual link to VK."

(Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina and Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

((anna.rzhevkina@tr.com; +48 58 7696600;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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