Rakuten and Marubeni Power Retail Corporation to enhance their services for low-voltage power users

Tokyo, 2017-Jan-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. and Marubeni Power Retail Corporation today (January 19, 2017) entered a comprehensive business alliance agreement on the promotion of purchases and utilization of electricity and other commodities for low-voltage power.

Through the agreement, the areas of the partnership will be expanded into the various services offered by the Rakuten Group. In addition, by leveraging the over 50 years of knowhow of the electricity business that Marubeni Power Retail has cultivated within the Marubeni Group and the strengths of Rakuten Group, such as its experience in internet services, the Rakuten Super Points loyalty program and the broad Rakuten membership base, the two companies aim to enhance their services for low-voltage power users

Rakuten and Marubeni Power Retail will launch a campaign in which users who simultaneously sign up for both Rakuten’s low-voltage power supply service, Machi Denki*1, and Rakuten Mobile, will receive 3,000 Rakuten Super Points. In addition, users who sign up for “Machi Denki” during the campaign period can receive up to 2,000 Rakuten Super Points. In order to make payment more convenient, users will have the option to pay monthly fees using Rakuten Super Points beginning with their payment for March 2017.

Since Rakuten and Marubeni Power Retail launched a business alliance in the power retail business for low-voltage users in September 2015, the two companies have been expanding the scope of their services, including power supply services under brokerage arrangements, mainly to Rakuten Ichiba merchants and low-voltage non-residential users*2, such as corporations contracting with Rakuten Communications Corporation*3. The two companies also began accepting credit card payment for low-voltage residential users*4 from November 30, 2016, and carried out a special campaign aimed at users of Rakuten Card*5. These activities have proved that the Rakuten Ecosystem model, with its single membership shared between each its services, can also be effectively utilized in the power retail market, and have prompted the two companies to conclude an agreement today to further accelerate efforts to acquire customers towards April 2017, when the gas retail market is set for liberalization, one year after the full liberalization of the power retail market.

By strengthening their partnership, Rakuten and Marubeni Power Retail will provide high value-added energy services to accommodate the diversification of customer needs resulting from the full liberalization of the electricity and gas retail markets, further contributing to the healthy competition and development of the Japanese energy market.

About Rakuten, Inc.

Name: Rakuten, Inc.

Founded: 1997

Main Businesses: Rakuten operates a wide variety of internet services, such as e-commerce, eBooks, and travel, as well as financial services. Rakuten’s energy services were established in June 2013

Head Office Location: Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Representative: Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani

URL: http://global.rakuten.com/corp/

About Marubeni Power Retail Corporation

Name: Marubeni Power Retail Corporation

Founded: 2011

Main Businesses:

1. Electricity trading business, and its agency and brokerage

2. Construction of power plants, electricity generation, and its agency and brokerage

Head Office Location: Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Representative: Representative Director and President, Daisuke Nishiyama

URL: https://denki.marubeni.co.jp/

*1 “Machi Denki” is the low-voltage power supply services of Rakuten’s energy business, “Rakuten Energy,” for small-scale business operators and other power users.

*2 Low-voltage non-residential users are non-residential users who sign up for low-voltage electricity.

*3 Press Release: Rakuten Communications Starts Offering Rakuten’s Power Service “Machi Denki” (Japanese)

http://corp.rakuten.co.jp/news/update/2016/1215_01.html

*4 Press Release: Rakuten Energy Starts Offering Credit Card-Based Payment for Power Rates (Japanese)

http://corp.rakuten.co.jp/news/update/2016/1130_01.html

*5 Low-voltage residential users are residential users who sign up for low-voltage electricity.

Campaign Overviews

Campaign 1

Overview: Users who sign up for both “Machi Denki” and Rakuten Mobile during the campaign period and enter the campaign can receive 3,000 Rakuten Super Points

Period: 10:00 February 15, 2017, through 9:59 May 15, 2017

Campaign 2

Overview: Users who sign up for eligible “Machi Denki” plans during the campaign period, meet other conditions for participation in the campaign and enter the campaign can receive up to 2,000 Rakuten Super Points

Period: 10:00 February 6, 2017, through 1:59 March 9, 2017

Target and points:

2,000 Rakuten Super Points to users who sign up for Standard Plan 50A/60A/Premium Plan

1,000 Rakuten Super Points to users who sign up for Standard Plan 30A/40A

*For users in Kansai and Chugoku areas, 1,000 Rakuten Super Points will be awarded upon signing up to either of the Standard Plans, while 2,000 Rakuten Super Points will be awarded to those who sign up to the Premium Plan.

Eligibility: All users who sign up for “Machi Denki” during the campaign period

*For details on other conditions, please see the campaign page on the “Machi Denki” website after the campaign begins.

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten becomes main sponsor of FC Barcelona from the 2017-2018 season

Rakuten becomes main sponsor of FC Barcelona from the 2017-2018 season
Rakuten becomes main sponsor of FC Barcelona from the 2017-2018 season

 

Rakuten will appear on the front of the team jersey and become the Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner for the next four seasons, starting July 1, 2017

Tokyo, 2016-Nov-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) today (November 16, 2016) announced it has agreed to a four-year partnership with one of the world’s most esteemed soccer clubs, FC Barcelona. The agreement will see Rakuten become FC Barcelona’s Main Global Partner and its first-ever Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner from the 2017-2018 season, with its name appearing on match-day jerseys.

The partnership will bring together one of the world’s most beloved sporting franchises with a dynamic global company leading the way in e-commerce, communications, digital content and FinTech services for consumers and businesses around the world.

The terms of the agreement were formalized today, in a ceremony at Auditorium 1899 attended by Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Inc. Mr Hiroshi Mikitani, the President of FC Barcelona, Mr. Josep Maria Bartomeu and Vicepresident of Marketing and Media, Mr. Manel Arroyo. It will be ratified at the Club’s Extraordinary meeting of the club members to be held in the coming weeks. The contract term will start from the 2017-2018 season and extend four seasons with an option for an additional fifth season, representing a value of 55 million euros per season.

“As FC Barcelona’s Main Global Partner, Rakuten is set to power our global brand strategy and, as FCB’s first-ever Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner, we are looking to bring the collective power of our brands like Viber, Wuaki, Ebates, Kobo and PriceMinister to build an innovation framework that will deliver innovative solutions and services to fans, members and players,” said Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Inc. “I am very excited about joining the Barça community as I have personally followed the team for decades and have long admired their unique playing style and professionalism, their commitment to success and their culture of nurturing young talent – all values we share at Rakuten.”

Josep Maria Bartomeu, President of FC Barcelona, said, “We are delighted with our agreement with Rakuten, a global brand in innovation whose experience and know-how in the fields of big data, communications and e-commerce will contribute to the future success of FC Barcelona. “This agreement puts us at the forefront of sports club sponsorships, which have always been an objective for the current Board of Directors. We hope this partnership between Rakuten and FC Barcelona brings unparalleled sporting and commercial success, and helps the club achieve its goal of being a reference point worldwide.”

As the Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner, Rakuten will support the players and delight FC Barcelona fans and members with new initiatives showcasing the company’s technological prowess in messaging, drones, e-commerce, AI and much more. These initiatives will draw on Rakuten’s global resources, including strengths in Europe across companies such as Viber, the mobile messaging and calling app; Wuaki, the video-streaming service established in Barcelona and now available in 12 countries; PriceMinister, one of France’s leading e-commerce sites; and Kobo, a global digital e-reading service now available in 12 European countries. Across the globe, Rakuten companies in Japan and the US, including the Rakuten Ichiba e-commerce marketplace, the US-based shopping cashback service Ebates and OverDrive, a distributor of eBooks to libraries, will also provide invaluable support to the partnership.

Rakuten’s Viber, the global mobile messaging and calling app, will also become FC Barcelona’s Official Communications Channel.

Rakuten’s support of professional sports teams in Japan has led to impressive results. Rakuten owns the Vissel Kobe football club, one of the leading teams in Japan’s professional J-League, and in 2004, established Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, a professional baseball team that went on to win the Japan Series in 2013.

About Rakuten
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is one of the world’s leading internet services companies, offering a wide variety of services for consumers and businesses with a focus on e-commerce, finance, and digital content. Since 2012, Rakuten has been ranked among the world’s ‘Top 20 Most Innovative Companies’ in Forbes magazine’s annual list. Rakuten is expanding worldwide and currently operates throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 12,000 employees worldwide.
For more information visit http://global.rakuten.com/corp/

About FC Barcelona
Established in 1899, FC Barcelona is one of the world’s leading football clubs, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The club has won the Spanish professional football league, La Liga, 24 times and the UEFA Champions League five times. Known affectionately as Barça, the club is owned by an association of some 145,000 supporters.

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten Kobo launches its popular eBookstore in Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan, 2016-Sep-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten Kobo, one of the world’s most innovative eReading services, today (September 29, 2016) announced the launch of its popular eBookstore in Taiwan. In addition to the localized service launch, Rakuten Kobo also announced its partnership with a number of Taiwan’s leading publishers to offer original and translated traditional Chinese language digital titles to booklovers around the world.

The Rakuten Kobo Taiwan eBookstore will be managed by a dedicated team and will offer a robust lineup of thousands of popular traditional Chinese language titles, as well as travel guides, lifestyle titles, business books and magazines. In addition to its localized eBookstore, Rakuten Kobo has also developed free Chinese language eReader apps for Android and iOS smartphones and tablet devices, allowing Taiwanese booklovers to enjoy millions of international titles available from leading publisher partners around the world on devices they already own.

Leading Taiwan publishers partnering with Rakuten Kobo include Cite Publishing, Yuan Liou Publishing, Book Republic, Eurasian and Readingtimes Publishing.

“We are pleased to offer Kobo’s localized eBookstore service in Taiwan, making it easy for booklovers to build digital libraries stocked with all their favorite titles,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO and President of Rakuten Kobo. “We work closely with Taiwan’s vibrant publishing community to bring the best content to our Chinese language reading community here and around the world.”

“I am delighted to see another great Rakuten service launch in Taiwan, one of our most important international markets,” commented Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Inc. “Since our launch in Taiwan in 2008, Rakuten has steadily built the range of innovative services available to our growing membership base across e-commerce, fintech, travel and now digital content.”

The Rakuten Kobo eBookstore is located at tw.kobo.com and international digital readers can peruse a wide variety of traditional Chinese language titles across all genres at their local Rakuten Kobo eBookstore, accessible through www.kobo.com

Rakuten Kobo’s eBookstore service launch in Taiwan follows service expansion announcements in Turkey and Mexico and is part of Rakuten Kobo’s expansion to serve its global eReading community with original and translated digital content from publisher partners around the world.

About Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Rakuten Kobo provides consumers with a choice when reading. Rakuten Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders, as well as free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows®. Rakuten Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. Rakuten Kobo is headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten.

About Rakuten, Inc.
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is one of the world’s leading internet services companies, offering a wide variety of services for consumers and businesses with a focus on e-commerce, finance, and digital content. Since 2012, Rakuten has been ranked among the world’s ‘Top 20 Most Innovative Companies’ in Forbes magazine’s annual list. Rakuten is expanding worldwide and currently operates throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 12,000 employees worldwide.

For more information, visit www.kobo.com and global.rakuten.com/corp/

Source: Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten listed in 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Asia/Pacific Index for the first time

Tokyo, 2016-Sep-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. is pleased to announce that it has been selected for the first time as an index component for the 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), as one of the top-ranking companies from the Retailing category for the Asia/Pacific regional index.

In recent years, interest in investment based on environmental, social and governance (or “ESG”) principles continues to rise, taking into account non-financial information such as use of resources, diversity of the employee base, social contributions, governance structures and transparency. The DJSI is one of the leading global indices for this kind of investment.

Rakuten was recognized for its efforts across a broad range of categories, including customer relationship management, corporate citizenship and philanthropy, and information security and cybersecurity.

“We are honored to be selected for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, as rapidly changing economic, social and environmental conditions mean corporate sustainability has never been more important,” commented Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO and Chairman, Rakuten, Inc. “As Rakuten pursues our corporate mission of contributing to society by creating value through innovation and entrepreneurship, we will also continue to drive alignment with globally-recognized environmental, social and governance principles.”

The DJSI is an investment index jointly developed by S&P Dow Jones Indices and Switzerland based RobecoSAM in 1999 that evaluates listed companies in a variety of fields based on environmental, social and governance factors and selects those that excel in long-term sustainability. In 2016, 146 companies were selected for the Asia/Pacific regional index.

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Rakuten listed in 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Asia/Pacific Index for the first time
Rakuten listed in 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Asia/Pacific Index for the first time

 

Source: Rakuten

Rakuten acquires 100% stake in Fablic, inc. provider of consumer-to-consumer marketplace mobile app FRIL

Tokyo, 2016-Sep-05 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) announced that it has acquired a 100% stake in Fablic, inc., provider of FRIL, a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace mobile app and has made the company a wholly-owned subsidiary. The acquisition price is undisclosed.

The C2C e-commerce market continues to shift toward mobile services that make buying and selling simpler. Japan is also seeing an increase in popularity in C2C marketplace platforms that make it possible to buy and sell speedily and at predetermined prices, as well as a transition away from auction services that involve a bidding process. FRIL was launched as Japan’s first C2C marketplace mobile app in July 2012, and since then has been steadily growing its user base, with cumulative downloads of the app now exceeding 5 million. In November 2014, Rakuten also launched Rakuma, a C2C marketplace app for use mainly on smartphones, and this is also seeing a rapid expansion in gross merchandise sales (GMS).

“With our leading position in e-commerce in Japan, the addition of Fablic to the Rakuten Group will accelerate the already dynamic development of C2C services in Japan and the Rakuten ecosystem,” commented Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc.

The combined monthly GMS of the two companies’ services already exceed several billion yen, as at the end of July 2016.

FRIL has focused on the fashion and beauty product genres since launch, building a large user following among women, particularly in the late teens to 20s segments. Rakuma enjoys a broad user base spread uniformly across diverse product genres.

Rakuten is currently planning to allow users to use their Rakuten member ID to log into FRIL, and implement point campaigns utilizing Rakuten Super Points. These features are already integral to the Rakuma platform. This will contribute to enhanced convenience for FRIL users and broaden Rakuten Group’s overall user base, thus leading to the expansion of the Rakuten Ecosystem.

“By leveraging Rakuten’s expertise and user base and our unique resources as a key player in the development of Japan’s dynamic C2C market, we aim to improve the FRIL service offering for both new and existing users,” said Shota Horii, CEO of Fablic. “We are already exploring ways to collaborate that will enable us to draw on the customer bases and respective strengths of both Fablic and the Rakuten ecosystem, enhancing usability and convenience for all users.”

About Rakuten
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is one of the world’s leading Internet services companies, offering a wide variety of services for consumers and businesses with a focus on e-commerce, finance, and digital content. Since 2012, Rakuten has been ranked among the world’s ‘Top 20 Most Innovative Companies’ in Forbes magazine’s annual list. Rakuten is expanding worldwide and currently operates throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 13,000 employees worldwide.

For more information, visit: http://global.rakuten.com/corp/

About Fablic, inc.
Fablic, inc., established in April 2012, is a provider of FRIL, a C2C flea market app focused on the fashion and beauty product genres, and RIDE, a motorcycle flea market app. Fablic enjoys a strong reputation from various platforms as a smartphone app developer. It has a track record of being selected for the yearly Google Play Awards on the Google Play Store, and was the first*1 Japanese app developer to be selected by Google for the Android Developer Story series*2.

For more information, visit: https://fablic.co.jp/company
*1 The first app developer in Japan to be selected for a non-game app
*2 The Android Developer Story selection video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZqzvs-AXYA

Source: Rakuten, Inc.