We hope you had a pleasant summer, with many things to remember. Below is a recap of some of the summer highlights from MRG. Yes, it has indeed been one of the most eventful and exciting three months in the operational history of the Group! Please contact our IR team at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the below or any other topics of interest around our company.
- MRG signed definitive documents around AER JV in Russia/CIS, which is to launch operations shortly. Dmitry Sergeev, Deputy CEO of MRG, as well as head of AliExpress in Russia, Liu Wei, have been nominated as Co-CEOs of AER.
- AliExpress started to onboard businesses, including individual entrepreneurs, for transacting across Russia.
- MRG launched Marusia virtual voice assistant as one of MRG Tech Lab initiatives.
- New PC version “Mars” of Warface and Conqueror’s Blade (MMORPG) were launched.
- ESForce hosted EPICENTER Major with $1mn in prize money. Related streams had >45mn views ex China, with a >15mn unique audience, including >50% coming from Russian streams by RuHub. Virtus.Pro finished 3rd with $100k in prize money, having made it into top-10 eSports teams globally in terms of collected prize money during 1H19 (~$627k). While RuHub has become the first ever Russian channel to reach top-10 on Twitch, with 24.7mn views of Dota 2 during 1H19. Furthermore, Dota2ruhub ranked 1st globally in May.
- OK continued to lead among social networks in video views, with 870mn daily views including 130mn streams.
- MRG introduced new options to enter email accounts - through one-time codes, SMS or push notification.
- Citymobil (CM) has also continued its regional expansion, having launched in Tolliatti on June 18th, after entering Samara on May 6th. It has also launched multimodal taxi rides to Moscow airports in cooperation with Aeroexpress.
- CM started to offer its services via VK mini apps platform, available to all users across all cities of CM presence. Benefits of usage of CM within VK include ability to share the cost of the ride with friends or pay for the ride via VK pay and enjoy related discount.
- MRG, Nissan and VEB-leasing signed a cooperation agreement around car sharing.
- Inna Galiakhmetova, former head of Beru, joined OK to lead social e-commerce there, while former VP at Lingualeo and prior to that mobile mapping head at Yandex, Artem Loginov, has joined CM as product director.
- MRG secured an up to ~$1.7bn O2O partnership focused on mobility and foodtech with Sberbank, centred around DC and CM.
- MRG announced a partnership agreement with Modern Pick, having contributed 51% stake in ESForce to the combined company valued at $350mn. Deal is expected to close in the coming months. In the meantime, Slightly Mad Studios (SMS) announced that it signed a purchase agreement to “transfer substantial shares” to Modern Pick (MP).
- MY.GAMES purchased SWAG MASHA with their debut game Love Sick: Interactive Stories.
- MY.GAMES announced the development of American Dad! Apocalypse Soon, a strategy mobile game based on the Emmy®-nominated series from 20th Century Fox Television which will be developed by the creators of the hit mobile RPG Hustle Castle.
- Levada data showed that VK is the most popular social network in Russia, used by 42% of Russians, followed by OK (33%), Youtube (30%) and Instagram (23%).
- VK hosted its annual VK Fest, which attracted a record ~95k of visitors and >6mn unique live stream viewers.
- MRG purchased Relap.io recommendation service with native ads launched in 2014 and connected to ~3k media platforms.
- MRG completed a major refresh of the mobile version of its email service.
- Mail.ru Group increased requirements for quality of advertising traffic.
- OK launched own ads manager targeting SMEs, with a low minimum budget and highly simple interface, suitable for those with minimal marketing experience.
- CM partnered with RideBar to offer snacks to customers, payable via QR-code on-line.
- Guvenc Donmez, former CEO of Domino’s Eurasia has joined MRG as Vice President in charge of food tech. DC has also hired a new operational director, Vladimir Gusev, who came from BlaBlaCar and Uber.
- AliExpress launched on VK Mini Apps platform and started to allow unconditional returns for customers with Russia being their first market outside China with such option, which aims to stimulate demand.
- MRG expanded opportunities to purchase advertising on social networks while MyTarget has updated its advertising certification system for marketers.
- MY.GAMES announced a strategic partnership with iDreamSky with a target to be more active in Asia, which accounts for >50% of games market while MY.GAMES generated only 8% of revenues from Asia in 2018. Companies will also work together on new investment projects for international markets.
- MY.GAMES announced the plan to launch MY.GAMES Store platform in 4Q19 with not just own and third-party PC games to be on offer, but also with a regulated marketplace to trade in-game items (via Lootdog) as well as monetization of streamer content through Donation Alerts (owned by MRG).
- Despite a challenging start, Virtus.Pro managed to squeeze into the upper bracket of the playoffs at The International, having finished 9-12th with ~$700k in prize money.
- Together with a partner, MRG bought controlling stake in YouDrive, 4th largest domestic car-sharing company, which fits into O2O business MRG aims to launch with Sberbank.
- CM launched operations in Nizhny Novgorod (5th largest Russian city) and a target of 200k rides by the end of the month. CM is now present in Moscow (+MR), Yaroslavl (launched in 2018), Samara (May), Tolliatti (June) and Nizhny Novgorod.
- CM and Dobro Mail.ru launched app feature enabling taxi passengers to donate "miles" to charitable funds after each ride
- DC hosted its first Delivery Fest on Aug 24th with ~15k attendees.
- Maps.me and all its functionality became available in Apple CarPlay.
- Youla scheduled a teach-in for Analysts and investors for September 25th.
- Evgeniy Polotnianko, Co-founder of Star Island Games, is now heading OK’s gaming business with one of the targets not only to promote social games on the platform but increase penetration of game-like functionality across OK service offering. While VK promoted Sergey Kubasov into a position of its operation director.
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