Viber, the expanding international instant messenging and voice call app, will soon open a representative office in Russia, Russian business daily Vedomosti learned from the company’s co-founder and CTO Igor Magazinnik.

The small office will be in charge of service localization and local partnerships. Former Diageo and Red Bull CMO Evgenyi Roshchupkin has been appointed to head the office.

Service localization will include the provision of local content – “virtually any content that people use on mobile devices” said Magazinnik without offering details. Viber intends to transform itself into a communications platform in the larger sense of the term, not just an app for messenging and voice calls.

With 20 million registered users, including 10 million active ones, Russia is a key market for Viber, Vedomosti quoted Magazinnik as saying.

Among Viber’s Russian competitors are ICQ and Agent@Mail.ru, two properties of Mail.ru Group; QIP, which belongs to Russian Internet Solutions; and Yandex’s Ya.Online.

Viber was launched in 2010 by Israeli Talmon Marco and Igor Magazinnik. The latter emigrated from Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, to Israel in the early 1990s as the former Soviet Union was experiencing a deep crisis.

Source: Vedomosti