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Yappy: Russia’s Gazprom-Media launches domestic competitor to wildly popular Chinese video-sharing social network TikTok

Called ‘Yappy’, the social network has been described by its creators are an app where users can create vertical videos up to 60 seconds long, similar to TikTok. It is being aimed at Russians aged 14-34, with the company wishing to attract those who are “passionate about self-development and career.”

Yappy is already available for download but is yet to be officially launched.

While TikTok is immensely popular in Russia, and is currently the country’s fourth most popular social network, experts questioned by Moscow newspaper Kommersant are unsure whether Yappy will be able to compete with the Chinese giant.

According to Alexander Kuksa, the head of blogger agency Salo, it is a “very risky” project “capable of burning a lot of resources without a serious result.”

“To compete with TikTok, you need to spend billions of rubles. Or hundreds of millions to take a small market share,” Kuksa told the newspaper.

The app may, however, have some financial backing. Besides being owned by Gazprom Media, a subsidiary of hydrocarbon giant Gazprom, Yappy is based on Ya Molodets, an app created alongside Innopraktika, headed by Ekaterina Tikhonova. In 2015, former Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin alleged that Tikhonova is the youngest daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Gazprom Media acquired Ya Molodets in 2020.

Earlier this year, a Russian court fined Tiktok 2.5 million rubles for failing to delete illegal content that incited minors to participate in unsanctioned protests in Moscow.

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