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High demand for Russian Internet search company stock

Yandex homepage.

Kai Ryssdal: I'm reliably told by a Russian-speaking colleague here at Marketplace world headquarters that IPO in Russian is pronounced, roughly, "ee-pay-oeh."

We're dabbling in the bilingual today to set up a story on the Russian Internet search company Yandex, which went public yesterday to much fanfare. From Moscow, Peter van Dyk has more.


Peter van Dyk: The company, often called "Russia's Google," is hot among investors. The rocketing share price is one sign of that. Another is the fact that in yesterday's IPO, demand for shares was 17 times greater than the number on offer. Annelies van den Belt is the CEO of SUP Media, a Russian Internet publisher.

Annelies van den Belt: Yandex does many things and they almost do all of them very well.

Maybe that's why Yandex is used for some 63 percent of searches on the web in Russia, against about 20 percent for Google. Analysts say Yandex's setup handles the grammatical complexities of the Russian better than Google.

van den Belt: They had a headstart in terms of technology but also in terms opening up the market and they've done really well to monetize that.

Yandex is making good money from advertising -- the source of almost all the $445 million it brought in last year. The company's been turning a profit since 2003.

Bruce Bower, a partner at Verno Capital in Moscow, says the company's management is another asset; people like co-founders Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich.

Bruce Bower: The management team is a bunch of scientists, engineers who founded the company. They're very dedicated to the company; they're not doing an IPO to buy yachts and ride around on the Mediterranean. In many cases, Yandex has been more innovative than Google in the local market.

Yandex has plans to expand beyond Russia. In the wider world, it may find Google a tougher competitor.

In Moscow, I'm Peter van Dyk for Marketplace.

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