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20 Things You Didn't Know About Rakuten


Rakuten is a Japanese startup that provides its customers with cash-back incentives for shopping. It is an electronic commerce and online retail enterprise that has emerged as a leader in the commercial sector of business. Few companies in the world have achieved the level of success that this Asian giant has accomplished. To help you become more familiar with its merits, here are 20 things you didn't know about Rakuten

1. Rakuten is Japan's largest e-commerce site

According to Wikipedia, Rakuten is a company that has firmly established itself as a leader in e-commerce. It provides an electronic commerce platform for thousands of companies across multiple segments of the online business world. The name of its business platform is called Rakuten Ichiba, which is translated as "business to many."

2. Rakuten was founded in 1997

Rakuten was first established under the name MDM, Inc in 1997. The company has been operational for 24 years. The founder is Hiroshi Mikitani who launched his enterprise on February 7, 1997, with six employees, a website, and 13 merchants by May 1, 1997, under the name The Rakuten Shopping Mall. This was a small and humble beginning for MDM Inc. The same of the company was changed just 2 years later, in June of 1999 to Rakuten, which is Japanese for optimism. The business kept its fees lower than its competitors, including IBM and other tech companies, which helped it to grow and prosper at a rapid pace.

3. Rakuten grew from a single enterprise to thousands of stores

By the year 2000, Rakuten had grown its online marketplace to include a total of 2,300 stores. It became Japan's most popular online shopping site. Statistics for the monthly page views were an impressive 95 million 21 years ago. It had grown in popularity and the leadership decided to take the company public. On April 19, 2000, Rakuten filed its initial public offering on the JASDAQ stock exchange.

4. Rakuten grew and expanded annually

Rakuten began adding more services in March of 2001. They launched the Rakuten Travel division that specialized in online hotel reservations. The following year, the Rakuten Super Point Program provided merchants with a membership loyalty program that combined monthly fixed fees with commissions on sales. This was followed by a financial services arm introduced in September of 2004, with credit card services, and a smartphone payment system app by 2016.

5. Rakuten has a baseball team

In the Fall of 2004, Rakuten added a baseball team to its list of holdings. Baseball is a popular sport in Japan, thanks to the Nippon Professional Baseball Association. The team that Rakuten created was named the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. It added yet another revenue stream for the already solid enterprise.

6. Rakuten went international in 2005

Up until 2005, Rakuten maintained its growth and expansion at a high clip, but it was kept within the borders of its home country, Japan. This all changed in Japan as Rakuten began making acquisitions of other startups that took it on an expansion outside of its borders. Many new joint ventures and acquisitions were brokered from this point forward to the present day. This has heralded the growth of international business for the enterprise. The first international offices opened in Taiwan.

7. Rakuten operates under four FinTech segments

Rakuten has expanded its operations to include four divisions within the FinTech industry. It provides banking and securities services Rakuten also provides digital wallet services for merchants and customers. It also provides a credit card financial service. Another FinTech operation that Rakuten has launched is a life insurance company. It has grown to become a diverse enterprise within the FinTech segment of the market, but this is not the only area of its reach.

8. Rakuten entered the Mobile segment of the market

Another area where Rakuten expanded its services extends to the Mobile industry. Rakuten operates a telecommunications network called Rakuten Mobile. This company specializes in the sale of mobile devices that are associated with its telecommunications network.

9. Rakuten Inc has grown to over 70 services via three market segments

Rakuten Inc has expanded its operations to include three major segments of the market including Internet Services, FinTech, and Mobile. Under its Ecommerce banner, it operates, Rakuten Ichiba,, and It also provides a messaging app called Viber. In the food delivery industry, it owns Rakuten Delivery. The giant also offers a travel booking segment called Voyagin, as well as an online cash-back app called Rakuten Rewards. Rakuten has also ventured into the internet portal and digital content sites segment with Rakuten TV, Viki, Kobo Inc, and Rakuten DX. The latter is a company that was formed when Rakuten acquired a French electronic publishing firm called Aquafadas in October of 2012. It rebranded the subsidiary of its Kobo division as Rakuten DX in November of 2020, providing rich media services.

10. Rakuten is led by a 66-member executive team

According to Crunchbase, Rakuten has one of the largest executive teams of all companies of its kind. It employs 66 workers who are classified at this level. The top executives leading the company forward are Hiroshi Mikitani, who serves as the current chairman and chief executive officer of the company. he is also the founder of Rakuten. Takahito Aiki holds the position of senior executive officer. Koji Ando also serves as a senior executive officer. Yasufumi Hirai is the group executive, vice president, CIO, and CISO of the firm. Akio Sugihara is the managing executive officer, director executive, director of the global human resource department. Some of the senior executives at Rakuten hold multiple positions. Tou Shimada is the executive vice president and representative director, and director of digital content. Yoshihisa Yamada is the senior executive officer and director, and Masayuki Hosaka is the representative director and vice-chairman. There are dozens of other high-ranking executives at Rakuten, but these are the top-ranking leaders of the company.

11. Rakuten has just one board member

While most of the larger companies appoint a large board of advisors, this is not the case for Rakuten. So far, one sole member is serving on the board in an advisory position. It is none other than the founder and CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani. He is a leader who has a keen awareness of the needs of his operation. His track record for success stands as evidence that there is no outstanding need to bring in other advisors to reach the company's established goals.

12. Rakuten has exceeded unicorn status

We also learned that Rakuten has gone beyond the $1 billion valuations required to qualify as a unicorn company. Investment dollars alone were raised for $2.3 billion. This would have been enough to propel Rakuten to more than double the requirement. The funds were raised in a post-IPO equity round that set Rakuten on firm financial footing.

13. Rakuten acquired Fillr: Autofill as a Service

On December 3, 2020, Rakuten acquired a company called Fillr: Autofill as a Service. Autofill is a business that integrates into apps, providing customers with the ability to conduct faster transactions. The business supplies companies with technologies that boost conversions and revenue for their clients. The business is located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and it opened up the Australian market for Rakuten. The total funding amount for Filler: Autofill was $5 million. The details of the acquisition agreement and purchase price have not been disclosed.

14. Rakuten acquired InnoEye Technologies

On May 13, 2020, Rakuten purchased InnoEye Technologies, one of the larger and more successful tech startups in the country of India. The business is headquartered in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India but was purchased to launch a cloud platform supporting 4G/5G could platform and end-to-end platform process automation solutions in Japan.

15. Rakuten acquired LOB Inc.

On July 4, 2018, Rakuten acquired LOB, which is a developer as well as supplier of an advertising platform. The company is based in Tokyo, Japan, and had a total funding amount of 50 million yen. This was an acquisition that was a part of Rakuten's strategic plan to add advertising services and technology as a part of their massive network of service offerings. The precise details of the acquisition agreement terms and cost of the acquisition have not yet been made public.

16. Rakuten acquired Rakuten Ready

on June 8, 2018, Rakuten acquired Rakuten Ready. This was an American company that was based in Palo Alto, California. Rakuten Ready is the rebranded name of the company that was originally called Curbside. They specialized in the development of mobile apps to locate, purchase, and pick up products from retailers. this opened up yet one more segment of the industry for Rakuten, by offering a mobile app for scheduling online purchases and curbside deliveries to the parking lots of retailers. Curbside had a total funding amount of $34.5 million before it was acquired by Rakuten. The details and cost of the acquisition remain private.

17. Rakuten acquired Asahi Fire and Marine Insurance Company

On January 29, 2018, Rakuten got into the insurance business. It acquired the Asahi Fire & Marine Insurance Company. Asahi Fire & Marine Insurance Co. This is a business that is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It provides property and casualty insurance for consumers. With the addition of this business, Rakuten had entered yet one more segment of the market to become one of the largest and most complex companies in the country of Japan. It has a finger in almost every pot and continues to add more industries to its ever-increasing range of services.

18. 2015 was a big year for acquisitions for Rakuten

In 2016, Rakuten made three acquisitions. In December of 2015, it acquired Hunglead. Hunglehead is a company based in Tokyo, Japan that manufactures robots for performing commercial functions. The total funding amount of Hunglead was 30 million yen. In September of 2015, Rakuten purchases a company called World Travel System, a travel company based in Tokyo also. In July of 2015, it acquired Rakuten Fits Me, which was originally called Fit Origin. Rakuten rebranded it after the purchase. The company was based in Tartu, Tartumaa, Estonia and it was involved with making the ultimate fit recommendation solutions for e-commerce fashion retailers. Fit Origin had made one acquisition before it was purchased by Rakuten. The details of the acquisition and the cost were not made public. As of late May of 2021, Rakuten has made a total of 35 acquisitions of companies that represent a variety of different segments within the e-commerce industry. It won't be long until Rakuten is a top service provider for everything under the sun.

19. Rakuten is one of the largest employers in Japan

According to LinkedIn, Rakuten Inc employs one of the largest work forces in the country of Japan. So far, it lists 7,709 workers throughout the world. While the majority of them are located in Japan, the company is going through a period of expansion into other countries throughout the world.

20. Rakuten is hiring

Rakuten has listed an astronomical number of job openings on its LinkedIn page. There is a total of 1,801 open positions within this company. This suggests that Rakuten is getting geared up for a big push and expansion of its operations and its physical presence. There are multiple openings available for candidates living in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the United States, as well as in New York City, New York, San Mateo, California, and many other places. Multiple jobs are available in Tokyo, as well as Singapore and hundreds of other locations. Rakuten is on track to reach the status of employing 10,000 or more if it stays on its current trajectory. We fully expect to see them add yet more services to their ever-expanding network of diverse offerings. Rakuten is on track to give a run for its money. It has the potential for surpassing the American giant if it continues its current rate of growth.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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