|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia. (April 2012)|
|Traded as||JASDAQ: 4755|
|Industry||Online retailing, Internet|
|Founded||February 7, 1997|
|Key people||Hiroshi Mikitani
(Chairman and CEO)
|Revenue||$4.7 billion (2012)|
|Net income||$208 million (2012)|
|Employees||10,351 (June 2013)|
Rakuten, Inc. (楽天株式会社 Rakuten Kabushiki-kaisha ) (JASDAQ: 4755) is a Japanese electronic commerce and Internet company based in Tokyo, Japan. Among its numerous online properties, its B2B2C e-commerce platform Rakuten Ichiba is the largest e-commerce site in Japan and among the world’s largest by sales.
Hiroshi Mikitani founded the company in February 1997 as MDM, Inc., and is still its chief executive. Rakuten Shopping Mall (楽天市場 Rakuten Ichiba ) started operations in May 1997. In June 1999, the company changed its name to Rakuten, Inc. The Japanese word rakuten means optimism.
In 2005, Rakuten started expanding outside Japan, mainly through acquisitions and joint ventures. Its acquisitions include Buy.com (now Rakuten.com Shopping in the US), Priceminister (France), Ikeda (now Rakuten Brasil), Tradoria (now Rakuten Deutschland), Play.com (UK), Wuaki.tv (Spain), and Kobo Inc. (Canada). The company has investments in Pinterest, Ozon.ru, AHA Life, and Daily Grommet.
Lines of business
The Rakuten Group consists in total of around forty businesses & services such as -
- Online retail: Operation in a number of countries outside Japan;
- Banking, Credit and Payments: Offering personal consumer credit services including card loans, mortgages, and other banking services;
- Portal and Media: Managing portal sites acting as gateways to the internet, and performing other activities;
- Travel: Operating hotel booking and other travel-related websites and providing other services;
- Securities: Providing services such as online securities brokerage;
- Professional Sports: Managing a professional baseball team, planning and selling related merchandise and performing other activities;
- Entertainment: Online video club.
The group's 2010 annual report shows that its online shopping business, Rakuten Ichiba, was Japan's largest online shopping mall, offering customers more than 95 million products from about 40,000 merchants. It also had 6 million credit card customers and more than 75 million users in Japan. As part of the group's globalization initiative, Rakuten Ichiba started offering international shipping.
In October 2005, Rakuten bought a 15% stake in Tokyo Broadcasting System, raising its stake in the broadcaster to 19%. Rakuten later withdrew its bid and sold its shareholding back to Tokyo Broadcasting.
2010 To increase its global competitiveness, Rakuten decided to adopt English as the company’s official language from mid-2012. That year, Rakuten also bought French online retailer Priceminister for €200 million and US-based Buy.com for US$250 million. The group had been a significant shareholder in Ctrip, a Chinese travel site until it sold its stake in the company in August 2007 and, in 2010, it announced a joint venture with Baidu in China (Lekutian).
2011 After launching Indonesia's Rakuten Belanja Online, a joint venture in June the group continued its global growth the same month, snapping up Brazilian e-commerce firm Ikeda — since,renamed Rakuten Brazil. In July, it bought German e-commerce start-up Tradoria and rebranded it Rakuten Deutschland, and in September UK online retailer and e-commerce marketplace Play.com for £25 million (almost $41 million). After a 2010 UK government decision to impose Value Added Tax on UK-based companies' sales from the Channel Islands - until then exempt from the tax on shipments of goods worth less than £18 (about $28) - Rakuten closed one of three Play.com warehouses on the island of Guernsey. In September, Rakuten took a minority equity stake in Russian online retailer Ozon.ru,dubbed 'Russia's Amazon', which had reported 2010 sales worth US$137 million. A four-company-strong consortium, led by the Japanese group, invested US$100 million. Rakuten's stake was not revealed.
2012 Rakuten bought Canadian e-book reader company Kobo in January. - a deal not finalized until January 2012. On 17 May, Rakuten announced that it was leading consortium investing $100 million in the Pinterest picture sharing social network — its partners were existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital, and a number of investment 'angels'. That investment marked the start of a drive to expand Pinterest's presence in Japan and Rakuten’s 17 other global markets. “While some may see e-commerce as a straightforward vending machine-like experience, we believe it is a living process where both retailers and consumers can communicate, discover, and curate to make the experience more entertaining," said Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten chief executive.
On 13 June, Rakuten bought Wuaki.tv, a Spanish (Barcelona, Catalonia) video on demand (VOD) service/company that is one of the largest in Europe and the market leader in Spain, where it has over 600,000 registered users. That opened new opportunities, directly challenging Amazon, Netflix and others for domination of the VOD market — at first, in Europe and, later, elsewhere. In November, Rakuten bought French online retail delivery company Alpha Direct Services. "Speed and quality of delivery is at the heart of any solid e-commerce proposition," said the Japanese group's Hiroshi Mikitani.
By late 2012, Rakuten had also moved into online retail in Austria, Canada, Spain, Taiwan and Thailand and into the online travel markets in France — with Voyager Moins Cher.com — and China, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan — with its Tokyo-based international Rakuten Travel platform. In North America, Rakuten Golf made booking tee time online possible.
2013 In May 2013, Rakuten acquired a majority share in “citizen commerce” site, Daily Grommet, since rebranded as The Grommet. In June 2013, Rakuten announced its acquisition of U.S.-based logistics and services company Webgistix. specializing in fulfillment technology for e-commerce retailers. The acquisition is Rakuten’s second logistics investment outside of Japan and enables prompt fulfillment in the U.S.
In Septermber 2013, Rakuten acquired Singapore-based Viki.
(source Rakuten Inc.)
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- Rakuten Ichiba (Japanese)
- Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba (Chinese)
- Rakuten Germany (German)
- Rakuten company info
- Indonesian Rakuten review
- Rakuten.co.id: Toko online murah, serba ada Barang unik Jepang (Indonesian)