Yandex is venturing out of Russia, but the expansion is gradual
Yandex is quickly expanding into more services and slowly into more countries. While the search engine/portal has dominated the Russian and Russian-speaking search market, it hasn't had much success elsewhere. Granted, it hasn't tried to compete elsewhere until very recently.Now though, while it won't say it outright, it's got its eyes set on the global market, though it will probably tackle the emerging internet markets first.
One big step towards realizing that dream is a new mapping service, now live, that covers Europe and the US. Just the US and Europe in fact, everything else is practically blank on the new Yandex Maps.
That's not by mistake, Yandex does have a much more thorough map, but in the Russian language version of the site. This is also why Yandex isn't making much of a fuss about it.
The map data for the international version comes from Navteq, the data for the Russian one comes from a variety of sources, but Yandex probably doesn't have a global license from those.
The end result is a map that covers the US, pretty much all of Europe except former USSR countries and Turkey. Yandex has bigger ambitions in Turkey, it already opened local offices and a localized search engine there.
The global version of Yandex Maps is basic to its core. It only offers road maps, in those few countries, directions and search for cities, villages and so on.
Things like places, points of interest, traffic data and other advanced features are not available, although most if not all are available in the Russian version, so it's only a matter of time before they're implemented.
Yandex says the global version of its Maps service is aimed more at Russian and Turkish travelers rather than at international audiences. But it's hard to imagine Yandex is not thinking about the global market, if it were about travelers, it would simply be expanding its existing Maps service.