MOSCOW, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Russian internet group Yandex has invested in MultiShip, a logistics services provider for online stores, in a move to reinforce its e-commerce platform.
Russia's biggest search engine, Yandex generates the bulk of its revenues from text-based advertising but also develops other services such as its comparison shopping system, Yandex.Market.
In a statement on Wednesday, Yandex said it would pay $1 million for a software platform which makes it easier for online retailers to deliver goods to customers in Russia's regions by connecting them with logistics providers.
Yandex will also invest several million dollars into new services and the expansion of MultiShip's client base. It added that MultiShip's software developers would join Yandex's team.
MultiShip works with more than 300 internet stores, helping to arrange delivery to more than 40,000 cities and towns. Yandex.Market features more than 14,000 online stores and has an estimated monthly audience of over 18 million shoppers.
Yandex said that with the acquisition of Multiship the users of Yandex.Market will be able to choose goods from online stores in other regions based on cost and time of delivery.
Logistics has been the main hurdle to the development of the e-commerce market in Russia, the world's largest country, as only big online retailers are able to invest in their own delivery systems.
Foreign retailers are even more disadvantaged compared with their Russian peers, and Moscow has also recently moved to make it harder for Russians to make cross-border purchases.
"Few foreign enterprises are fearless enough to take the plunge without a ready-made, smoothly running distribution system," Yandex said in its blog.