Russia's Yandex launches food delivery service in Armenia

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Russian internet group Yandex is pictured at the company's headquarter in Moscow

(This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian tech giant Yandex on Wednesday said it had launched food delivery service Yandex Eats in Armenia, delivering on a promise to develop its e-commerce offering after selling some other business lines to rival VK.

Yandex last month agreed to sell its news aggregator, content platform Zen and homepage to state-controlled VK in a move that is expected to tighten the government's grip on the internet.

That deal, which closed on Monday after receiving regulatory approval, saw Yandex acquire VK's Delivery Club food delivery service, complementing its e-grocery and food delivery Yandex Eda offering, which includes Yandex Eats.

"Entering foreign markets is one of the priorities of Yandex's foodtech-business," Roman Maresov, head of Yandex Eda, said in a statement. "Yandex Eda already operates in Kazakhstan and Belarus.

"Thanks to closing the deal on purchasing Delivery Club, we will be able to allocate more resources on localising the service, which is needed to launch in new countries," he said.

Yandex Eats has launched in Armenia in test mode, with 100 restaurants connected.

Like many Russian business, Yandex, which dominates Russia's internet search and ride-hailing sectors, has faced significant hurdles since Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. Yandex was not directly sanctioned by the West, but some top managers were.

Yandex in August estimated the size of Russia's food delivery market at 650 billion roubles ($11 billion) in 2021 and sees annual growth of 20%.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)