Russia's Yandex to open new office in Europe

MOSCOW, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Russian internet group Yandex plans to open an office in Berlin to attract western technological expertise, it said on Thursday, in a sign of its growing foreign ambitions.

The new office is expected to employ 30-40 software engineers and user interface designers by the end of this year who will work on the global version of Yandex’s mapping service, the firm said on its website.

Yandex, which leads the world’s biggest search engine Google in Russia with a market share of more than 60 percent, had said that expansion beyond former Soviet countries was one of its focus areas when it floated shares in New York in 2011.

Apart from Russia, Yandex has operations only in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Turkey but it also has developer offices in Switzerland and the United States.

Last November, Yandex expanded the coverage of its mapping service to Europe and the United States, powered by Nokia’s unit Navteq, recently rebranded as HERE, but those maps still lack many functions that are available in Russia.