Rakuten Inc. opened last week in Austria its fifth European e-marketplace at Rakuten.at. The other four operate in the U.K. (Play.com), France (PriceMinister.com) Spain (PriceMinister.es) and Germany (Rakuten.de). In Germany alone, the company’s site features offers of 17 million products from 8,200 merchants on Rakuten.de Shopping, according to Aexel Bauer, chief marketing officer for Rakuten in Germany and Austria. Figures for the Austria.at site were not available. Rakuten is headquartered in Japan, where its flagship marketplace, Rakuten.co.jp, is the country’s leading e-commerce site by sales and No. 2 in Internet Retailer’s Asia Top 500 rankings, after China‘s Alibaba.
Rekuten enables merchants to design their shops on its marketplace with branding and shopping functionality consistent with their own e-commerce sites; Rakuten handles risk management and covers any losses tied to online payment fraud; and it provides help in marketing according to local customs and laws about consumer privacy.
In Japan Rakuten is the biggest online shopping mall operator with over 80 million registered users.. Total sales of products were over 1 trillion yen (US$8bn) in 2011 including the Rakuten Mall (both fixed-price, group purchase), mobile, business, golf, books, auctions, digital downloads, tickets, net supermarket, off-track betting, lottery and media rentals. Rakuten is extremely active on the international level: in 2010 the company took over Priceminister (France), Buy.com (USA) and went into a joint venture with Chinese Baidu. In 2011 were added Brazilian Ikeda, German start-up Tradoria, Play.com (Jersey), and Ozon.ru (a minority stake). In 2012, Rakuten moved into online retail in Austria (Tradoria), Canada (Kobo e-book), Spain (Wuaki.tv), Taiwan and Thailand as well as in online travel with French Voyager Moins Cher.com. The Company has now operations in 13 countries all over the world. Rakuten has a market share of 28.8% on the Japanese market before Amazon with 12.4%.
Sources: Ecommerce Europe, Rakuten, Internet Retailer