The most eye-catching operations of Rakuten, the "Japanese Amazon".

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BY : Diego GutiérrezJuly Fri, 2019

Rakuten va mucho más allá de ser una simple tienda online. A través de sus diferentes acquisitions and investments in recent years has succeeded in creating a highly diversified company with a presence in a wide variety of businesses.

As discussed below, the Japanese giant is very active in corporate finance and has made numerous recent acquisitions and investments.


Popularmente conocido como el ‘Amazon japonés’, es un caso particular en la historia tecnológica de Japón. Y es que, con el comienzo del milenio el país nipón comenzó a perder protagonismo en el sector tecnológico y sus empresas dejaron paso a las compañías americanas, que lideran el sector.

However, born in 1997, Rakuten has become Japan's largest online retailer with more than 50 million registered users and one of the ten largest Internet companies in the world.

The Japanese company has several lines of business including:

  • e-commerce
  • Credits and payments
  • Portals and media
  • Travel
  • Online security services
  • Administration and sponsorship of professional teams

This diversification has been achieved through both organic and inorganic growth. The latter has been achieved through different operations, which are discussed below.


Through its investment arm Rakuten Capital, the Japanese company is able to position itself in different companies with business models that can eventually be integrated into its structure.


Founded in 2015, it is a platform that relies on a network of self-employed delivery drivers to carry out urgent urban deliveries.

With this investment, Rakuten enters the delivery sector and the Spanish market through one of the most promising startups.


Altiostar, a pioneer in open virtualised RAN technology, provides a 5G-ready software solution that supports open interfaces and disaggregates hardware from software.

In this way, Rakuten is positioning itself in the telephony and mobile network sector in order to strengthen its position in this field and to continue with its strategic plans to become a telephone operator.


Through acquisitions of other companies, Rakuten acquires well-established companies that are ready to be integrated into its business lines.

LOB Inc.

This advertising technology company founded in 2016 develops and provides advertising platforms. In addition, it also provides consulting services to businesses on the execution of online ads and support in the development of digital marketing tools.

With this acquisition, Rakuten seeks to leverage the company's technical and development capabilities to strengthen its global advertising platform. In this way, the Japanese company will continue to leverage Big Data to provide its clients with tailored solutions.


Founded by former Apple engineers, Curbside is one of the first startups to exploit the idea of delivering packages not only to homes but also to other locations such as cars, restaurants and car parks.

The purchase by Rakuten opens up numerous opportunities to leverage the connections and delivery methods already established by Curbside between customers and retailers.


Asahi is an insurer owned by the Nomura group, which offers general insurance, i.e. insurance covering the risk of loss or damage to property or assets.

With this operation, the Japanese giant enters the insurance sector and increases the catalogue of financial services it offers, which already includes credit cards and banking services.


Wolrd Travel System is an airline ticket broker for travel agencies. It has an extensive network and strong negotiation capabilities with a large number of airlines. In addition, with the development of an online booking system for foreign flights called SkyRep.

In this way, Rakuten is able to strengthen its travel business by offering more possibilities to its customers and expanding its range of services.

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