|Traded as||JASDAQ: 4755|
|Industry||e-commerce and diversified products and holdings|
|Founded||February 7th, 1997|
|Headquarters||Shinagawa Seaside Rakuten Tower
Japan, Tokyo, Japan
|Japan and worldwide|
|Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman & CEO|
|Revenue||US$4.7 billion (December 2011) |
|US$886 million (December 2011) |
|US$14 million (December 2011) |
|Total assets||US$23.8 billion (December 2011) |
Number of employees
|5,810 (2009) 
7,119 (Consolidated) (As of Dec 31st, 2010) 
3,042 (Non-consolidated) (As of Dec 31st, 2010) 
Rakuten, Inc. (楽天株式会社 Rakuten Kabushiki-gaisha?) (JASDAQ: 4755) is one of the world's largest Internet services companies. Among its numerous online properties, its flagship B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) model e-commerce site Rakuten Ichiba is the largest e-commerce site in Japan  and among the world's largest by sales.
Its business is centered in Japan, although it has been expanding rapidly overseas in recent years, primarily through acquisitions and joint ventures. Rakuten's founder, chairman and chief executive officer is Hiroshi Mikitani. The company has its headquarters in the Shinagawa Seaside Rakuten Tower (品川シーサイド楽天タワー Shinagawa Shīsaido Rakuten Tawā?) in Higashi Shinagawa, Shinagawa, Tokyo.
The company was founded in February 1997 as MDM, Inc. Rakuten Shopping Mall (楽天市場 Rakuten Ichiba?) started operations in May the same year. In June 1999 MDM, Inc. changed its name to Rakuten, Inc.
Rakuten's 2011 revenues were US$ 4.7 billion with operating profits of approximately US$886M, suggesting an 18.8% operating profit margin. The company is publicly-traded (JASDAQ: 4755). As of December 2011, it has a market capitalization of US$13 billion and some 10,000 employees worldwide.
Lines of business
The Rakuten Group is composed of six businesses:
- E-Commerce Marketplace, managing Japan's largest online retail marketplace;
- Credit and Payments, offering personal consumer credit services including consumer loan card payment and loans
- Portal and Media, managing portal sites—which act as the gateway 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; and
- Banking, offering card loan, mortgage and other banking services for individuals.
Rakuten's online shopping business, Rakuten Ichiba, is the largest online shopping mall in Japan, and allows customers to shop more than 90 million products from over 38,000 merchants. It has 6 million credit card holders and a membership of over 75 million users in Japan.
As part of its Internationalization efforts, Rakuten Ichiba has started offering international shipping.
In October 2005, Rakuten bought a 15% stake in Tokyo Broadcasting System thereby raising its ownership to 19%. Rakuten was said to plan a merger with the broadcast company, but eventually withdrew its bid and divested its shareholdings.
Rakuten owns a US specialized subsidiary, FreeCause, founded in 2006 and located in Boston, Massachusetts, that develops and enhances loyalty rewards programs for major brands, airlines, hotels, sports teams and non-profits. As of January 2012, it has more than 20,000,000 members, 3,500 partners and merchants, and 300 clients. The USA headquarters for Rakuten is also located in Boston.
Rakuten was a significant shareholder in Ctrip, a Chinese travel site, but in August 2007, the company sold its share in Ctrip. Later in 2005, Rakuten acquired Linkshare (now "Rakuten Linkshare"), a New York City-based company, dealing in sales and marketing performance analysis.
In 2010, in another effort to increase its global competitiveness, Rakuten announced its intention to make English the company’s official language by mid-2012. That year, Rakuten also acquired the French e-commerce site Priceminister for €200 million and US-based Buy.com for US$250 million.
After launching Rakuten Belanja Online service on June 1, 2011, Rakuten continued its global acquisition trend with the purchase of Brazilian e-commerce firm Ikeda (now Rakuten Brazil) that same month. In July, it acquired e-commerce startup Tradoria in Germany (now Rakuten Deutschland), and in September purchased UK e-commerce pioneer Play.com for £25 million.
In September 2011, Rakuten purchased a minority equity stake in Russian online retailer Ozon.ru. The total infusion of capital was US$100 million divided between four buyers, of which Rakuten was one. Rakuten's stake is unknown.
( source Rakuten Inc.  )
- Rakuten Auction Inc.
- Rakuten Travel, Inc.
- Rakuten Enterprise Inc.
- Rakuten Bus Services Inc.
- Signature Japan Co., Ltd.
- Rakuten Securities, Inc.
- Rakuten Linkshare (formerly LinkShare Corporation)
- Rakuten Baseball, Inc.
- Rakuten Card Co., Ltd
- Keiba Mall, Inc.
- Dot Commodity, Inc.
- Fusion Communications Corp.
- Rakuten Bank, Ltd.
- Rakuten Mortgage, Inc.
- Net's Partners, Inc.
- ShowTime, Inc. (Japan) 
- Rakuten Research, Inc.
- Onet, Inc.
- Rakuten Insurance Planning Co., Ltd.
- FreeCause (USA) 
- Vissel Kobe
- Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
- Japan Open Tennis Championships
- Rakuten Institute of Technology
- Yukihiro Matsumoto
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- FreeCause website
- Toto, Serkan, "Japan's Rakuten: Can The Biggest E-Commerce Site You Never Heard Of Become a Threat for Amazon Globally?", TechCrunch, Sunday, July 5th, 2009
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- "японская школа торговли". Expert Magazine, Russia.
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- "Indigo Announces Completion of Kobo Sale", Bloomberg, Jan 11th 2012
- About: Rakuten Group", Rakuten corporate website
- ShowTime (Japan)