From a domestic marketplace to the global landscapeFounded as MDM, Inc., the Rakuten Group launched its small-scale online shopping marketplace, Rakuten Ichiba, in 1997. Following the rebranding to Rakuten, Inc., the e-commerce company expanded its business portfolio to include communication and sports management services, and financial technology-related services, among others. Nonetheless, the domestic e-commerce segment remained Rakuten Group’s main revenue source.
With the acquisition of businesses overseas, Rakuten expanded its brand outside of Japan, establishing itself as one of the most valuable Japanese brands on the global market.
E-commerce in JapanE-commerce is one of the fastest developing markets in Japan, with the business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce market growing more than double in size in the last decade. Home appliances and foodstuffs were the most common goods and services ordered by Japanese consumers over the internet.
As consumer interest in groceries ordered over the internet grew, large store-retailers like Aeon and Ito-Yokado entered the online marketplace. Rakuten joined the competition with the joint venture Rakuten Seiyu to expand its business in to the online food retail segment.