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

Rakuten, Inc.
Corporate Communications Department
(+81) 50-5817-1104

Seiyu GK
Public Relations

Rakuten Kobo Inc.
PR & Communications

Source: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Rakuten Kobo introduces new updated version of the original crowd-pleasing waterproof eReader

Just in time for summer, Kobo empowers passionate readers
to enjoy worry-free reading wherever they go.

Toronto, ON, 2017-May-03 — /EPR Retail News/ — Relaxing takes many forms, and many agree that reading is key, especially when it takes place near water whether in the bath, on the dock, by the pool, or at the beach.

In the service of relaxation and just in time for the summer reading season, Rakuten Kobo, a global leader in eReading, today ( May 2, 2017) announces its newest addition to the family, the new Kobo Aura H2O—an updated version of the original crowd-pleasing waterproof eReader. The new device allows booklovers to easily read in direct sunlight due to its anti-glare E Ink display, for a print-on-paper like reading experience. ComfortLight PRO reduces blue-light spectrum, so while nail-biting thrillers may keep you up at night, the new Kobo Aura H2O will not.

The new Kobo Aura H2O  will be available in black and will retail for $199.99 CAD (MSRP) in Canada at www.kobo.comFile (pre-orders will be available as of May 15) and select retailers starting on May 22; the device will also be available as of May 22 in the US, the UK, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, and Turkey; as of June in Sweden; as of July in Australia and New Zealand, with Philippines, Mexico and Brazil to follow later this year.

Typically, technology and water don’t play well together, but this summer, they do. The new Kobo Aura H2O is the season’s must-have accessory to let avid readers enjoy their favourite stories in more places—relaxing in the bath, by the pool, or while on seaside excursions. The device is waterproofed* with HZO Protection™ for worry-free reading near water. The coating technology applied to the device’s interior allows it to be fully submerged without the need for port covers.

For night owls, ComfortLight PRO reduces blue-light exposure through the course of the day, so they can read even longer without it affecting their sleep. This innovative technology was introduced with the launch of Kobo Aura ONE last year, winning the seal of approval from Colleen Carney, Associate Professor and Director of the Sleep and Depression Laboratory at Ryerson University, who said devices that eliminate blue light work well for those who enjoy reading before bed; for more from Dr.Carney,

Not sure which book to take on your daily adventures? Take them all. With 8GB of storage, the new Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2 stores up to 6,000 eBooks. A forgotten charger on cottage trips is no longer a cause for concern; with weeks of battery life, readers can enjoy countless hours of reading before needing a charge . The Freescale SoloLite processor ensures page turns are quick and seamless. What’s more, the 6.8” Carta E-Ink touchscreen displays print-quality text beautifully (265ppi).

No two booklovers are alike, and a customizable reading experience is a must. With TypeGenius, readers have many options to choose what suits them best, such as weight and sharpness settings, and the ability to choose from 50 font sizes and 11 font types. In addition, they can adjust margins, highlight passages, write notes, or look up a word with the built-in dictionary—all with the tap of a finger.

Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo, says: “The new Kobo Aura H2O enables book lovers to read anywhere and everywhere they go—to make the most out of every day and while on their summer holidays. No splash, intentional or not, will dampen their reading experience. When I head out to enjoy the summer with my family, beach bags are always jam-packed with snacks, sunscreen, and countless other necessities, including books. This device makes it possible to take your entire library with you, without having to choose which story to take along; take them all and make the most of that much-needed ‘me’ time.”

Kobo Aura Edition 2—a refreshed version of a beloved classic

In addition, sales of the Kobo Aura Edition 2, an eReader in a lightweight design that is already available overseas, will also commence in Japan on May 23.

The Kobo Aura Edition 2 encourages readers to lose themselves in their favourite stories on its 6” Carta E Ink touchscreen (1024 x 768 resolution; 212 ppi). The device’s lightweight and comfortable design makes it easy and comfortable to hold for hours of reading, and offers access to millions of books 24/7 through a Wifi connection. With a print-on-paper look (11 font types and 40 font sizes), booklovers can read in direct sunlight without glare; battery life of up to 2 months; 4 GB of memory of on-board memory to store up to 3,000 eBooks; and with the built-in, adjustable ComfortLight, reading is made easy regardless of lighting conditions.

For more information: www.kobo.comFile.

*Meets requirements of IPX8 rating. Waterproof for up to 60 minutes in up to 2 metres of water.

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.