Rakuten, Inc

Traded as TYO: 4755

Rakuten, Inc is a Japanese company chiefly focused on electronic commerce. It’s e-commerce platform Rakuten Ichiba is the largest e-commerce site in Japan and one of the largest worldwide by sales. (It’s sometimes referred to as “The Japanese Amazon”.) Rakuten also operates Japan’s largest Internet bank and third-largest credit card company (by transaction value).

RakutenFounded back in 1997, Rakuten didn’t embarked on a course of rapid expansion abroad until 2005 when it kicked-off a series of high-profile acquisitions and joint ventures. Since then, it has become the owner of businesses such as Buy.com, Play.com, Wuaki.tv, Ebates, OverDrive, The Grommet, Slice, Viki, and PriceMinister. Rakuten also have substantial stakes in various e-businesses, such as Pinterest, Cabify, Carousell, Lyft and Ozon.ru.

Today, Rakuten have over 1 billion members globally for their e-commerce, digital content and communication services.

In April 2014, Rakuten announced that they would ban all online sales of whale and dolphin meat through their channels by the end of the month, after being named as the world’s largest online retailer of whale meat and elephant ivory. In July 2017, Rakuten proclaimed a ban on ivory sales.

Short facts about Rakuten

Japanese name 楽天株式会社
Transcribed name Rakuten Kabushiki-gaisha
English name Rakuten, Inc.
Company type Public K.K.
Traded as TYO: 4755
Industry Internet
Key products E-commerce
Area served 29 countries and regions
Founded 7th of February, 1997 (as MDM, Inc)
Founder Hiroshi Mikitani
Headquarter Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan
Number of employees 14,826 (2017)

Key services

  • Online shopping
  • e-reading
  • Book distribution
  • Video on demand
  • Travel reservations
  • Fashion
  • Banking
  • Credit card and payments
  • Media
  • Professional sports
  • Marketing and data analysis
  • Mobile messaging

Examples of recent acquisitions, investments and announcements

When? What?
March, 2018 Rakuten announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency.
January, 2018 Rakuten made its first foray into the general insurance market by purchasing Asahi Fire and Marine.
April, 2018 Rakuten invested $2.4 million in Singapore-based MetroResidences.
June, 2017 Rakuten led a $500 million Series E round of Funding in Careem, a round which closed out in June.
August, 2016 Rakuten acquired the assets of bitcoin wallet startup Bitnet to create the research facility Rakuten Blockchain Lab in Northern Ireland.
April, 2016 Rakuten participated in a round of financing for the investing app Acorns.
April, 2016 Rakuten announced that it would invest 92 million USD in the Latin American ride-hailing service Cabify. (Rakuten had already invested 3 million USD in Cabify in 2015.)
March, 2015 Rakuten led a 530 million USD round of venture financing for Lyft, paying 300 million USD for a 12% stake.
March, 2015 Rakuten announced their acquisition of OverDrive Inc, a company for which they paid 410 million USD.
January, 2015 Rakuten purchased the J-League football team Vissel Kobe.
September, 2014 Rakuten announced that it would acquire Ebates Inc for approximately 952 million USD.
August, 2014 Rakuten announced its purchase of Slice for an undisclosed sum.
May, 2014 Rakuten Marketing acquired the British technology company DC Storm.
February, 2014 Rakuten announced the acquisition of Viber Media for 905 million USD.

Examples of businesses and subsidiaries

Aquafadas Rakuten Card Co., Ltd Rakuten Research, Inc.
Alpha Direct Services Rakuten Commerce Rakuten Securities, Inc.
Crimson Football Club Rakuten Communications Corp. Rakuten Shashinkan, Inc.
Daily Grommet Rakuten Coupon Rakuten.com (formerly Buy.com)
Dot Commodity, Inc. Rakuten Deutschland GmbH Rakuten ShowTime, Inc. (Japan)
Ebates Inc. Rakuten Edy, Inc. Rakuten Sociobusiness
Fablic Rakuten EMOBILE, Inc. Rakuten Spain, SL
Fits.Me Holdings Limited Rakuten Enterprise Inc. Rakuten Travel, Inc.
Keiba Mall, Inc. Rakuten Europe Bank S.A. ReDucate
Kenko.com. Inc. Rakuten India Enterprise Pvt.Ltd. Shareee, Inc.
LinkShare Japan K.K. Rakuten Insurance Planning Co., Ltd. Signature Japan Co., Ltd.
Net’s Partners, Inc. Rakuten Investment Management, Inc. Slice Technologies, Inc.
O-net, Inc. Rakuten Kobo Inc. Spotlight
Priceminister S.A.S Rakuten Life Insurance Co. Ltd. Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba, Inc.
PT.Rakuten-MNC Rakuten LinkShare (formerly LinkShare Corporation) TARAD Dot Com Co., Ltd.
Rakuten Auction Inc. Rakuten Logistics, Inc. TicketStar Inc.
Rakuten AIP Rakuten Loyalty (formerly FreeCause) Wuaki.tv
Rakuten Austria GmbH Rakuten Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. Viber
Rakuten Baseball, Inc. Rakuten Marketing Viki
Rakuten Bank, Ltd. Rakuten Mart Voyagin Co. Ltd.
Rakuten Brazil Internet Service Ltda. Rakuten MediaForge, Inc. Webgistix
Rakuten.co.uk (formerly Play.com) Rakuten OverDrive World Travel System