Mail.ru Group, the Russian Internet services company which owns a stake in Facebook, is set to launch a rival to Twitter in its native country, according to a report.
Business newspaper Kommersant [Russian language report] cites insider sources at Mail.ru as stating that at a Twitter rival was in the works, which would integrate with the company’s existing properties and allow a user’s microblog messages to appear on their profile pages on other services.
Mail.ru Group is a major force in Russia, owning not only a popular free email service, but the MyWorld social network and blogging, video and photo sharing services among many others. It owns IM service ICQ, and its 2010 annual report declared a 2.33% stake in Facebook, 1.41% stake in Zynga and 4.63 stake in Groupon.
While Mail.ru hasn’t confirmed the report that it is to enter the microblogging market, it would place it in direct competition with a growing audience of Russian language Twitter users. The American company launched a native language service for the country in April this year, while a report from the country’s search giant Yandex earlier this year stated that the number of Twitter accounts tweeting in Russian had surpassed one million.