Wal-Mart and Rakuten to launch online grocery delivery service Japan and new eBooks and audiobooks offering in the U.S.

Companies to launch online grocery delivery service in Japan and new eBooks and audiobooks offering in the U.S.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. and TOKYO, Japan, 2018-Jan-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) president and CEO Doug McMillon and Rakuten, Inc. Chairman, president and CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani met in Tokyo today ( Jan. 25, 2018) to announce a new strategic alliance that leverages each company’s unique strengths and assets to expand consumer reach and enhance how customers are served in Japan and the U.S.

The collaboration includes the launch of a new online grocery delivery service in Japan beginning in the third quarter of 2018. In addition, Walmart and Rakuten Kobo Inc. have formed an exclusive retail alliance that will enable Walmart to begin selling eBooks and audiobooks, as well as offer Rakuten Kobo eReaders, in Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com in the United States starting later this year.

“Rakuten is a strong e-commerce business and we’re excited to collaborate with the top online shopping destination in Japan,” McMillon said. “Here in Japan and everywhere we operate, we’re constantly exploring new ways to make every day easier for customers by offering great experiences in stores, online, via mobile—no matter how customers want to shop. We look forward to expanding our grocery footprint in Japan and launching a new offering of eBooks and audiobooks for our customers in the U.S.”

Mikitani said, “As global leaders in e-commerce and offline shopping, Rakuten and Walmart are uniquely positioned to empower our customers around the world with innovative services.” He added, “We are excited to partner with Walmart because of its commitment to creating the best solutions to serve customers with low prices.”

Japan online grocery delivery service
Rakuten and Seiyu GK, a subsidiary of Walmart, have reached a basic agreement to establish a joint venture with the aim of launching a new online grocery delivery service in Japan, to be known as “Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper.” The new service is planned to be launched in the latter half of 2018.

Rakuten and Seiyu will launch a new online grocery delivery service leveraging each of the companies’ strengths to offer a more convenient shopping experience that meets the changing needs of customers in Japan. Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper will aim to increase fulfillment capacity, enrich the merchandise offering and improve convenience for the customer. The service will aim to increase capacity in 2018 with the establishment of a dedicated fulfilment center, in addition to offering deliveries from Seiyu stores.

The new service’s merchandise offering will showcase Seiyu’s twin strengths of “quality” and “low prices.” To serve the needs of customers increasingly short on time for preparation, the service will include not only fresh produce and daily consumables but also a rich lineup of convenient items such as cut vegetables, partially-prepared foods and ready-meal kits, as well as popular local gourmet products from merchants on the Rakuten Ichiba marketplace.

Furthermore, the new service will utilize Rakuten’s deep expertise in e-commerce to offer a site with an optimized user experience, as well as leveraging big data and AI to offer a more personalized merchandise offering.

Customers using the new service will enjoy the benefit of being able to earn and use Rakuten Super Points, also allowing them to use their points on more than 70 services within the Rakuten ecosystem.

Rakuten Kobo U.S. eReading Service
As part of this alliance, Walmart will become Rakuten Kobo’s exclusive mass retail partner for the Kobo brand in the U.S., offering Kobo’s nearly six million titles from thousands of publishers and hundreds of thousands of authors to Walmart.com customers. Walmart.com will offer eBooks and audiobooks for sale later this year. Walmart will also sell digital book cards in stores, enabling more than 4,000 stores to carry a broader selection of books for customers.

All eBook content will be accessible through a Walmart/Kobo co-branded app available on all iOS and Android devices, a desktop app and Kobo e-Readers, which will also be sold at Walmart later this year.

“Walmart is one of the top retailers in the world and one of the largest booksellers in the U.S. Our strategy from day one has been to partner with the world’s best retailers, so that they can easily offer their customers the option of reading digitally. This informs the software and devices we create, the books and authors we promote, and also the partnerships we build,” said Rakuten Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn. “For us, this is another great opportunity to serve book lovers at Walmart, those people who make reading an important part of their lives.”

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. The company’s legal name will become Walmart Inc., effective on Feb. 1, 2018, to reflect its growing status as an omni-channel retailer. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our more than 11,600 stores under nearly 59 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.

About Rakuten
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1 billion members around the world. Since 2012, Rakuten has ranked in the top 30 of Forbes Magazine’s annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list. The Rakuten Group has over 14,000 employees, and operations in 29 countries and regions. For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.

About Seiyu
Seiyu operates retail chain stores nationwide from Hokkaido to Kyushu, selling fresh food, groceries, apparel, general merchandise and other products. We are striving to deliver our customers “Our Promise”: Offering everyday needs at unbeatable prices at the quality they want through the channel they prefer to shop, such as stores, and online grocery delivery service, which provides them with highly valuable shopping experience of key attributes for differentiation: “Price Leadership”, “Quality and Freshness”, “Product Assortment” and “Convenience”. Fully leveraging the global network and creditworthiness of our parent company, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., we will actively develop attractive sales floors to better suit the preference and needs of Japanese customers.

About Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten and headquartered in Toronto, Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s most innovative eReading services offering nearly 6 million eBooks and audiobooks to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides people with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders to suit any Reader’s style including Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura H2O, and Kobo Aura ONE; along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple® and Android®. Kobo’s award-wining eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.

Media Inquiries:
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Media Relations
+1 (479)273-4314
news.walmart.com/reporter

Rakuten, Inc.
Corporate Communications Department
global-pr@mail.rakuten.com
(+81) 50-5817-1104

Seiyu GK
Public Relations
+81-3-3598-7760

Rakuten Kobo Inc.
PR & Communications
kobo-pr@mail.rakuten.com

Source: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Rakuten becomes exclusive distribution partner in Japan for all live NBA games and global marketing partner of NBA

Rakuten to Market to NBA Fans Around the World Through Rakuten Ichiba, Ebates and Rakuten Viber

TOKYO, 2017-Oct-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Rakuten, Inc. today (OCTOBER 10, 2017) announced a multiyear partnership making Rakuten the league’s exclusive distribution partner in Japan for all live NBA games and a global marketing partner of the NBA.  This marks the NBA’s most comprehensive media partnership in Japan and Rakuten’s first with a North American sports league.

This season, Rakuten will offer NBA LEAGUE PASS, the league’s premium live game subscription service, exclusively to Rakuten members in Japan through NBA.com, the NBA App and for purchase through Rakuten’s video-on-demand service, Rakuten TV.  NBA LEAGUE PASS will allow fans to watch all NBA games including preseason, regular-season and playoffs games, NBA All-Star, NBA Conference Finals and The Finals, in addition to other exclusive programming.

Rakuten will also offer a subscription package on Rakuten TV, providing fans with access to nine games a week, one game per weekday and two games each on Saturdays and Sundays.

“We are very excited to partner with the NBA to bring all the action of the world’s top basketball league to fans in Japan,” said Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten, Inc.  “As we have recently announced that we are proud partners of the Golden State Warriors, the NBA’s reigning champions, it is an honor to expand our contributions to the global growth and development of basketball with this NBA partnership.”

“Rakuten is one of the world’s most innovative companies and an ideal partner for the NBA,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  “Our new relationship with Rakuten speaks to the appetite that our passionate fans in Japan have for live NBA games and content, and we look forward to working with Rakuten to provide the most comprehensive NBA coverage to date.”

The global marketing partnership also allows Rakuten to create NBA and team zones, and sell select NBA and team merchandise on its e-commerce channels globally, including Rakuten Ichiba in Japan and Ebates, a leading membership-based online cash-back site in the U.S.

Rakuten Viber, Rakuten’s instant messaging platform, will also become an official platform for the NBA and its teams, providing their more than 900 million users with access to league content.

The NBA’s presence in Japan dates back almost 30 years.  NBA games and programming have been on-the-air since the 1988-89 season, and officially licensed NBA merchandise is widely available at more than 180 Xebio stores across Japan.  The league has conducted a number of events in Japan, including 12 regular-season games in three cities, interactive fan events, NBA Cares community outreach initiatives, and in 2012, Basketball without Borders, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program.

Founded in 1997 in Tokyo as the world’s first successful merchant-focused e-commerce marketplace, Rakuten now encompasses over 70 businesses spanning e-commerce, digital content, communications and fintech that reach more than one billion members around the globe.  Rakuten’s professional sport portfolio includes ownership of Japan’s Vissel Kobe soccer club and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team, the team that won the national Japan Series Championship in 2013.  In July 2017, the company also became the Main Global Partner and Official Innovation and Entertainment Partner for iconic soccer club FC Barcelona.

For more information on the NBA, fans in Japan can visit www.nba.co.jp or follow the NBA on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news and updates.  Fans interested in viewing NBA games on Rakuten TV in Japan can visit tv.rakuten.co.jp.

About the NBA
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around three professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA G League.  The league has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages, and NBA merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on 6 continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2016-17 season featured a record 113 international players from 41 countries and territories.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA App and NBA LEAGUE PASS.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with more than 1.3 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms.  Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.

About Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society.  Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1 billion members around the world.  Since 2012, Rakuten has ranked in the top 30 of Forbes Magazine’s annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list.  The Rakuten Group has over 14,000 employees, and operations in 29 countries and regions.  For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

NBA Champion Golden State Warriors and Rakuten announce multi-year partnership

NBA Champion Golden State Warriors and Rakuten announce multi-year partnership

The Rakuten Badge To Be Featured On All Warriors Jerseys Beginning This Season

OAKLAND, CA, 2017-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The NBA Champion Golden State Warriors and Rakuten, Inc. today announced a multi-year partnership to include the Rakuten logo on all Warriors jerseys beginning in the 2017-18 NBA season. The Rakuten badge will be featured on all of Golden State’s practice, regular, post-season and Summer League uniforms. For the first time in NBA history, the NBA approved the sale of jersey sponsorships, beginning with the 2017-18 season. The badges will be on the front left opposite the Nike logo and will measure approximately 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches and be adjusted to fit the dimensions of each sponsor’s logo.

As part of the partnership agreement, Rakuten will also become the Official E-Commerce Partner, Official Video-On-Demand Partner and Official Affiliate Marketing Partner of the Warriors. In addition, Rakuten Group company Ebates, a leading membership-based online cash-back site in the U.S., will become the Warriors Official Shopping Rewards Partner, the global mobile voice messaging service Rakuten Viber will become the Official Instant Messaging and Calling App Partner and the Rakuten Kobo eReaders will become the Official E-Reader Partner of the Warriors.

“Rakuten is an innovative global leader that we knew would align well with our values and principles as an organization,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. “We have incredible fan support around the globe and this partnership is another way to not only continue to grow the Warriors brand globally, but also further connect with our fans in Japan, Asia and Europe.”

Founded in 1997 in Tokyo, Japan, as the world’s first successful merchant-focused e-commerce marketplace, Rakuten now encompasses over 70 businesses spanning e-commerce, digital content, communications and fintech that reach more than 1 billion members around the globe. Since 2012, Rakuten has been ranked in the top 30 of Forbes Magazine’s annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list. In line with its growing investment in the United States and its vision for global innovation, Rakuten established its Americas regional headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Golden State Warriors, one of the most successful organizations in sports today and one that shares our passion for positivity, teamwork and optimism,” said Rakuten, Inc. founder and CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani. “Like FC Barcelona, the iconic soccer club we partner with, the Warriors are innovators in their sport that have helped create a more beautiful game through a distinct style of unselfish, teamwork-oriented play.”

The Warriors won the 2017 NBA Championship, the fifth title in franchise history and second in the last three years. The organization was also honored with the SportsBusiness Journal/Daily Sports Team of the Year award in both 2014 and 2016, along with Warriors Owner and CEO Joe Lacob earning the SportsBusiness Journal/Daily Sports Executive of the Year award in 2014.

The Rakuten partnership also includes entitlement to the Warriors Practice Facility, now named the Rakuten Performance Center, along with a significant representation with the Warriors traveling party and additional sales and marketing elements including in-arena signage, digital, social and radio.

The Warriors sponsorship adds another global platform to Rakuten’s professional sport portfolio that includes ownership of Japan’s Vissel Kobe soccer club and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team, the team that won the national Japan Series Championship in 2013. In July 2017, the company also became the Main Global Partner and Official Innovation and Entertainment Partner for iconic soccer club FC Barcelona.

About the Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors organization, currently in its 72nd season, is a charter member of the National Basketball Association. Founded in 1946, the Warriors called the city of Philadelphia home for 16 memorable years before moving to the West Coast in 1962 to become the San Francisco Warriors and ultimately, in 1971, the Golden State Warriors when the team moved across the Bay to its current home in Oakland. The team’s storied history includes five NBA Championships, an NBA-record 73 wins during the 2015-16 season, the greatest post-season run in NBA history (16-1 in 2017), six of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players and 27 members of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. For more information on the Golden State Warriors, please visit warriors.com.

SOURCE: Rakuten, Inc.

JAPAN: Rakuten announces investment in genetic health testing pioneer Genesis Healthcare Co.

Tokyo, 2017-Aug-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) today announced it has invested in genetic health testing pioneer Genesis Healthcare Co., receiving a 1.4 billion yen issue of new shares. Rakuten Chairman and CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani will join Genesis Healthcare’s Board of Directors as an External Board Director.

Genesis Healthcare, founded in 2004, already manages one of the largest genetic databases in Asia and Japan, with approximately 520,000 individuals as of August, 2017, and plans to increase its database size to one million by 2020. While Genesis Healthcare offers various genetic testing services to government, medical professionals, academia, industry and consumers, it also offers healthcare and disease prevention test kits and IT services under the consumer brand “GeneLife” in order to enrich people’s lives through personalized genetic testing.

Genesis Healthcare’s Founder and President, Dr. Iri Sato Baran, commented, “The investment by Rakuten, a Japan leader in internet services, will allow us to increase awareness of genetic information technology through digital healthcare for the betterment of personalized health and self-medication.”

“Forward-thinking technologies like Genesis Healthcare’s genetic health analysis and a deeper understanding of responsible self-medication are essential to finding innovative responses to increasing health costs and the rising awareness of health issues in Japan,” commented Rakuten Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani. “With this investment, we would like to see Genesis Healthcare take a leading role in furthering the understanding and adoption of genetic health testing in Japan.”

Through the investment, Rakuten will support development and promote understanding of genetic diagnostic technologies in Japan in order to contribute to the realization of a richer society.

■Overview of Genesis Healthcare Co.
Company name: Genesis Healthcare Co.
Office location: Yebis Garden Place Tower 26F 4-20-3 Ebice, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Date of establishment: March1,2004
Capital:784M Yen
Representative: Dr. Iri Sato-Baran
Business Overview: Medical Kit manufacturing, Distribution license

Source: Rakuten Inc.

FC Barcelona’s star players Messi, Neymar Jr., Piqué and Turan visit Rakuten in Tokyo to celebrate new partnership

FC Barcelona’s star players Messi, Neymar Jr., Piqué and Turan visit Rakuten in Tokyo to celebrate new partnership

Partnership based in shared values of optimism and empowerment commenced Jul. 1

TOKYO, Japan, 2017-Jul-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten became the Main Global Partner and the first-ever Official Innovation & Entertainment Partner of FC Barcelona, one of the most iconic and beloved football clubs in the world, on July 1.

Rakuten, which was founded in 1997 as the world’s first successful merchant-focused e-commerce marketplace, now encompasses over 70 businesses spanning e-commerce, digital content, communications and fintech that bring the joy of discovery to more than 1 billion members across the world. By linking these diverse services through a common membership and loyalty program, we are creating a unique Rakuten Ecosystem for members. Rakuten’s partnership with FC Barcelona will enable us to enhance global awareness of this ecosystem and of the global Rakuten brand.

The Rakuten-FC Barcelona partnership, which is planned for four years with an option for one-year extension, is based in shared values of optimism and commitment to empowering local communities.

Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten, Inc., said, “FC Barcelona’s motto of being ‘more than a club’ resonates with Rakuten’s commitment to being ‘more than a company’ – by empowering entrepreneurs and innovation, by supporting youth to become leaders of the future, and by contributing to local communities around the world.”

A group of FC Barcelona’s star players, including Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., Gerard Piqué and Arda Turan, along with Vice President responsible for Marketing and Communication, Manel Arroyo, visited Rakuten’s headquarters in Tokyo and locations around the city to celebrate the launch of the partnership.

FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi said, “It has been a pleasure to get to know firsthand the work Rakuten is doing in Japan and to see the passion with which they work. Their commitment to teamwork is similar to the approach we take on the pitch – it is something that both parties in this new partnership share.”

FC Barcelona forward Neymar Jr. said, “One of the most important things in football, as in life, is optimism. Before I go out on the pitch I know what I need to do, and I know I can do it. It’s wonderful to have a sponsor who shares our belief in the future.”

Centre-back Gerard Piqué said, “The team at Rakuten are visionaries and innovators – but they are also deeply passionate about supporting the communities around them. They are a great fit for FC Barcelona, a club that engages with so many communities, from its members and supporters’ clubs to fans all over the world. We look forward to a wonderful partnership.”

Midfielder Arda Turan said, “It is wonderful to be here and to be part of a team that leads the world of football and a team that is so admired here in Japan and around the world.”

FC Barcelona Vice President responsible for Marketing and Communication, Manel Arroyo said, “Having Rakuten as FC Barcelona’s Main Global Partner and Official Innovation & Entertainment Partner is an absolute pleasure and we are sure that it will be a successful collaboration for both entities. The experience, innovative vision, and commitment to social development Rakuten has will help the Club continue to grow and maintain its position as a global reference in a sporting and institutional sense. The shared philosophy, values and objectives are, without a doubt, another guarantee of the success which will come out of this agreement.”

The partnership launches with a wave of consumer campaigns and corporate activities planned to excite FC Barcelona fans around the world. Details below:

–   Rakuten and FC Barcelona will work together to power the online “Barça Fan” community using the global Rakuten ID platform. Once completed, the system will allow new members of the Barça community to sign up simply by entering their Rakuten ID.

–   Global mobile messaging service Viber, also the FC Barcelona Official Communication Channel, will launch exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage of the club’s activities on and off the field on their official Public Account, as well as a series of free sticker packs featuring all the favorite players throughout the partnership.

–   Viber will also launch a competition to offer a VIP travel package to Barcelona to see FC Barcelona legends in action at Camp Nou.

–   Rakuten Ichiba, Japan’s largest online shopping mall, has opened an exclusive FC Barcelona zone that showcases all the best of FCB goods on the site.

–   Rakuten Card, one of the top three credit cards in Japan, will launch two exclusive FC Barcelona-branded credit cards, featuring the FC Barcelona logo and some of the club’s best-known players, in autumn.

–   Rakuten will host kickoff events around the world in 12 major locations to celebrate the launch of the partnership with key clients, partners and employees and set the stage for activities to come.

–   As the FC Barcelona team travels to the United States in late July for a special tour, Rakuten will also create tailored events and promotions to generate further excitement about this new partnership.

Updates on initiatives will be shared in weeks to come, as Rakuten works with FC Barcelona to delight football fans and Rakuten members around the world.

SOURCE:  Rakuten, Inc.