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Russia's Yandex launches e-grocery delivery in Paris

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MOSCOW, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Russian internet giant Yandex has launched an online grocery delivery service in Paris under the Yango Deli brand, it said on Tuesday, pursuing global expansion as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive demand for online delivery services.

Paris became the first European city where Yandex started offering grocery service after Yango, the international arm of Yandex Go, the firm's taxi aggregator and food tech business, tapped the delivery market in Israel last year.

Yandex said in a statement it will deliver orders in Paris within 10-15 minutes, using so-called dark stores, dedicated warehouses that cater only to online clients, allowing for swift delivery and cheaper rental costs.

"Yandex's own technologies help Yango Deli to deliver orders quickly," it said.

The company's software algorithms optimise warehouse routes for staff to assemble orders within minutes and also find free couriers who are close to its warehouses.

Yandex, which is Russia's most popular internet search engine as well as its largest ride-hailing service provider, is planning to spend around $650 million on e-commerce initiatives this year.

In April, Yandex said it was planning to launch a grocery delivery service in London in the third quarter of 2021.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, VkusVill, a fast-growing Russian supermarket chain, was also studying the French market to open stores in Paris. (Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina; Editing by Andrey Ostroukh)