Rakuten Group, Inc. history, company profile (overview) and corporate video

       Rakuten Group, Inc. is a technology conglomerate headquartered in Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan. It operates through the following business sectors: Commerce & Marketing, Communications & Energy, Investment & Incubation, and FinTech.


    1997-1999: Foundation of Rakuten and Launch of Internet shopping mall “Rakuten Ichiba”

    In an era where everyone seemed to be telling us that people will never buy things on the Internet, “Rakuten Ichiba” launched with only 6 employees and 13 merchants.


    • Feb MDM, Inc., the precursor to Rakuten, Inc., is founded
    • May “Rakuten Ichiba,” the Internet shopping mall, begins service


    • Jul “Rakuten Super Auction,” the predecessor service of “Rakuten Auction,” is launched


    • Jun MDM, Inc. renamed as Rakuten, Inc.

    2000: IPO and Expansion of Rakuten Group

    Rakuten enhances its brand awareness widely while accelerating M&A activities through an IPO on JASDAQ, respresnting a big step forward for moving into new businesses and services to that will shape “Rakuten Ecosystem.”


    • Jan “Rakuten University” is established to deliver the know-how of managing the Internet shop for merchants of Rakuten Ichiba
    • Apri Rakuten goes public through an IPO on the JASDAQ market
    • Dec Rakuten acquires Infoseek Japan K.K., a popular portal site and search engine

    2001: Future Vision to Reach “1 Trillion Yen of Gross Transaction Volume” as Rakuten Group

    Rakuten announces 1 trillion yen gross annual billing target for the Rakuten Group at the time when it had only 36 billion yen gross transaction volume (Rakuten Group had achieved 1 trillion yen in 2007 and 3 trillion yen in 2011).


    • Mar “Rakuten Travel,” an online hotel reservation service, is launched
    • Apr “Rakuten Books,” an online book shopping service, is launched.

    2002: Business Model Innovation of Rakuten Ichiba

    • To achieve a further win-win relationship with merchants, Rakuten Ichiba launches “Pay-as-you-go programme” as well as “Rakuten Super Points” service.
    • Rakuten Ichiba expands to over 6,000 registered merchantsin 5 years since the service launch.


    • Apr New merchant fee contract system based on “Pay-as-you-go programme” is introduced to Rakuten Ichiba
    • Nov “Rakuten Super Point Program” is introduced as a new membership loyalty program (All products sold on Rakuten Ichiba generate Super Points that can be used to pay for shopping in any merchant’s store, which are now available for the other Rakuten Group’s services)

    2003: Enhancement of Group Synergy

    Rakuten Group dramatically expands scope and scale of operations by adding new core businesses.


    • Sep Infoseek Japan K.K. merged into Rakuten Rakuten acquires (currently Rakuten Travel, Inc.) to spearhead its online travel business
    • Nov Rakuten acquires DLJdirect SFG Securities (currently Rakuten Securities, Inc.)

    2004: Entry into Japanese Professional Baseball

    Rakuten enters the arena of professional sports with the formation of the “Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles,” which was the first new professional Japanese baseball franchise awarded in 50 years, instantly putting the “Rakuten” brand in newspapers across the country on a daily basis.


    • May Rakuten acquires Minnano Shushoku Inc., an online community for job seekers
    • Sep Rakuten acquires Aozora Card Co., Ltd. (currently Rakuten Card Co., Ltd.)
    • Oct Rakuten Baseball, Inc. was founded to manage professional sports businesses
    • Nov Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) approves new entry of “Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles”

    2005: Strengthening Financial Businesses while Making Inaugural Push Outside of Japan

    • Synergy of credit card and e-commerce services generates substantial profits for Rakuten Group.
    • Rakuten expands overseas for the first time by acquiring U.S.-based LinkShare Corporation.


    • Jun Rakuten commences credit card payment service with “Rakuten Card” by acquiring Kokunai Shinpan Co., Ltd. (currently KC Card Co., Ltd.; divested in 2011)
    • Sep Rakuten enters the U.S. affiliate marketing business by acquiring LinkShare Corporation
    • Dec Rakuten Auction, Inc. founded as a joint venture with NTT DOCOMO, INC.

    2006: Vision of Rakuten Ecosystem

    Rakuten announces its vision for a “Rakuten Ecosystem,” which connects online and offline services across Rakuten Group.


    • Jul Rakuten and All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (ANA) establish Rakuten ANA Travel Online Co., Ltd.
    • Nov Rakuten introduces “Growth Management Program” to manage profitability and growth potential of each business unit, reorganizing its management structure into 38 business units

    2007: Further Investment in Human Resources

    Growth of employees is essential for Rakuten’s growth. Rakuten deepens commitment to investing in significant human resources over subsequent 10 years.


    • Aug Rakuten moves corporate headquarters to the Shinagawa Seaside, Rakuten Tower (Tokyo) Rakuten acquires Fusion Communications Corp. to commence IP telephony business

    2008: First E-Commerce Expansion Overseas

    • “Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba” launched as first e-commerce business outside Japan.
    • In Japan, Rakuten Ichiba intensifies focus on improving customer service.


    • May Rakuten launches a Taiwan-based Internet shopping mall business “Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba,” by establishing a joint venture with President Chain Store Corp, a leading retail company in Taiwan
    • Jun The Rakuten Group expands to around 40 different businesses and services, while reorganizing its business units into 11 business groups and enhancing investment efficiency by clarifying the growth and incubation businesses.
    • Sep Rakuten acquires O-net, Inc., a bridal information and service provider.

    2009: Enforcing Rakuten Ecosystem

    Rakuten further enforces “Rakuten Ecosystem” by expanding its financial services, such as banking and e-money.


    • Feb Rakuten acquires eBank Corporation (now Rakuten Bank, Ltd.)
    • Sep Rakuten acquires TARAD Dot Com Co., Ltd., which operates Internet shopping mall “” in Thailand
    • Nov Rakuten forms capital alliance with Bit Wallet, Inc. (now Rakuten Edy, Inc.), which operates e-money business

    2010: To be a Genuine Global Company

    Rakuten accelerates a global business, shifting to a new stage to be a global Internet services company starting from a venture in Japan.

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    • Jan Rakuten acquires bitWallet, Inc. (now Rakuten Edy, Inc.)
    • May Rakuten acquires LinkShare Japan K.K. by merging it with TRAFFIC GATE, LTD. Rakuten initiates “Englishnization” project to convert official corporate language into English
    • Jun Rakuten establishes “Rakuten Institute of Technology” in New York, a R&D institute focused on advanced Internet technologies (first Rakuten Institute of Technology was established in Tokyo in Dec. 2005)
    • Jul Rakuten acquires, Inc., one of the U.S. leading e-commerce companies Rakuten acquires PriceMinister S.A. (now PriceMinister S.A.S.), the most visited e-commerce site in France

    2011: Rakuten Ichiba Exceeds 1 Trillion Yen in Gross Transaction Volume

    • After 14 years, Rakuten Ichiba achieves over 1 trillion yen in gross transaction volume and 38,000 online shops.
    • Rakuten intensifies globalization push to evangelize the Rakuten Ichiba B2B2C e-commerce business model and “Rakuten Ecosystem” worldwide.


    • Jan Rakuten establishes “San Francisco Agile Development Center” in U.S. as a development center for Rakuten Group’s various services worldwide
    • Jun Rakuten’s joint venture with Indonesia’s largest media group, PT Global Mediacom Tbk., launches Indonesia-based Internet shopping mall, “Rakuten Belanja Online” Rakuten acquires Ikeda Internet Software LTDA. (now Rakuten Brazil Holdings LTDA), one of Brazil’s leading e-commerce platform providers
    • Jul Rakuten acquires Tradoria GmbH. (now Rakuten Deutschland GmbH), one of Germany’s leading online e-commerce platform providers
    • Sep Rakuten acquires minority stake in, a leading Internet service company in Russia
    • Oct Rakuten acquires Play Holdings Limited, one of the UK’s most successful e-commerce businesses
    • Dec Rakuten Ichiba achieves 1 trillion yen in gross transaction volume.

    2012: Entering eBook Business and Official Start of “Englishnization”

    • Rakuten enters into eBook business on a full scale by acquring Kobo Inc. in Canada, launching “kobo” eBook service in Japan.
    • “Englishnization” initiatives accelerates the smooth integration of group companies worldwide.
    • Rakuten’s marketplace model spreads to Rakuten e-commerce businesses around the world, while Rakuten Ichiba passes 100,000,000 product SKUs.


    • Jan Rakuten acquires Canadian eBook Company Kobo, Inc., a world leader in eReading.
    • Apr Rakuten launches Internet shopping mall “ Shopping” in Brazil
    • May Rakuten forms a business and capital alliance with Stylife Corporation, which operates e-commerce business in fashion/apparel sector Rakuten acquires Inc., which operates a health care goods online shopping site Rakuten leads $100M funding round in U.S.-based social network Pinterest, Inc. Rakuten establishes Rakuten Malaysia Sdn.Bhd in preparation for local e-commerce service launch
    • Jun Rakuten acquires Wuaki.TV, S.L.(Spain), an emerging European provider of on-demand video service
    • Jul Rakuten designates English as official corporate language after successful completion of two-year transition Rakuten launches “kobo” eBook service in Japan
    • Sep Rakuten enters into a coupon service sector by acquiring Shareee, Inc., which operates a coupon site “Shareee” Rakuten and eAccess Ltd. Agree to joint investment for the establishment of Rakuten EMOBILE, Inc. to begin a mobile data communication service Rakuten acquires AIRIO Life Insurance Co., Ltd.


    Rakuten Eagles achieves their first ever Japan Series Championship. Rakuten, Inc. is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.


    Strengthening telecommunications and O2O Services.


    Building out own logistics network, preparation for entry into the mobile industy.


    Expanding group synergy by going into business as a mobile carrier and strengthening fintech and commerce businesses.


    5G service launches.


    • Rakuten Mobile, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Communications Corp.;
    • Rakuten Energy, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Card Co., Ltd.;
    • Rakuten Bank, Ltd.;
    • Rakuten Securities Holdings, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Securities, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Life Insurance Co., Ltd.;
    • Rakuten Insurance Planning Co., Ltd.;
    • Rakuten General Insurance Co., Ltd.;
    • Rakuten SS Insurance Co., Ltd.;
    • Rakuten Investment Management, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Payment, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Edy, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Wallet, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Baseball, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Vissel Kobe, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Sociobusiness, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Ticket, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Data Marketing, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Insight, Inc.;
    • LinkShare Japan K.K.;
    • Rakuten STAY, Inc.;
    • Keiba Mall, Inc.;
    • Ebates Inc. dba Rakuten;
    • Rakuten Marketing LLC dba Rakuten Advertising;
    • Altiostar Networks, Inc.;
    • Robin Systems, Inc.;
    • Rakuten Symphony Singapore, Pte. Ltd.;
    • Rakuten Kobo Inc.;
    • VIKI, Inc.;
    • Viber Media S.a.r.l.;
    • Rakuten France S.A.S.;
    • Rakuten TV Europe, S.L.U.;
    • Rakuten Europe Bank S.A.;
    • Taiwan Lutian Market Co., Ltd;
    • Lotte Securities Hong Kong Limited;
    • Rakuten International Commercial Bank Co., Ltd;
    • Rakuten Securities Australia Pty Ltd.

       With more than 20,000 employees, Rakuten Group, Inc. is considered one of the Largest Public Companies in the World, according to Forbes.

    *Information from,, and

    **Video published on YouTube by “RakutenGlobal



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