Russia’s biggest technology company enjoys a level of dominance that is unparalleled by any one of its Western counterparts. Think Google mixed with equal parts Amazon, Spotify and Uber and you’re getting close to the sprawling empire that is Yandex—a single, mega-corporation with its hands in everything from search to ecommerce to driverless cars.
But being the crown jewel of Russia’s silicon valley has its drawbacks. The country’s government sees the internet as contested territory amid ever-present tensions with US and other Western interests. As such, it wants influence over how Yandex uses its massive trove of data on Russian citizens. Foreign investors, meanwhile, are more interested in how that data can be turned into growth and profit.
For the September/October issue of MIT Technology Review, Moscow-based journalist Evan Gershkovich explains how Yandex’s ability to walk a highwire between the Kremlin and Wall Street could potentially serve as a kind of template for Big Tech. This week on Deep Tech, he joins our editor-in-chief, Gideon Lichfield, to discuss how, in a world where the debates over regulating Big Tech are intensifying, this isn’t just a Russian story.
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Show notes and links:
Full episode transcript:
Gideon Lichfield: Imagine a world where Google, Amazon, Spotify, and Uber are all one company. Everything from your morning news, music, and groceries, to your taxi home at night all delivered and operated by a single mega-corporation. Well, head over to Russia and you’ll find that world is very much a reality.
Anchor for Bloomberg News: If you thought LinkedIn was hot, wait until you get a load of Yandex. The Russian search engine company raised $1.3 billion in an IPO yesterday here in the United States on NASDAQ. And at $25 the stock is valued twice as