Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. has reportedly raised JPY242 billion (USD2.2 billion) through the sale of stakes to new investors Japan Post, Tencent and Walmart, according to CNBC and Reuters. Under the plan, Rakuten confirmed that Japan Post will buy an 8.3% stake, Tencent 3.6% and Walmart 0.9%, with the firm’s founder, chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani noting that his company is ‘growing very fast – even at this size – and we need more capital for the growth’.
The reports say that Rakuten will use the cash injection to fund logistics – specifically to bolster its e-commerce offer – and mobile, to enable Rakuten Mobile to compete more effectively with the old guard, NTT DOCOMO, KDDI (au) and SoftBank Corp. The group’s wireless arm launched a new cloud-based network last October, offering 4G and 5G using open radio access network (open RAN) technology. Rakuten Mobile’s strategy – announced last year – is to dispense with complex Ts&Cs, offering a single service plan ‘that is simple, intuitive and easy-to-understand for all customers, whether they are in Japan or travelling internationally’. The plan – named Rakuten Un-Limit 2.0 – was launched in April 2020 and offers subscribers unlimited data when connected to the Rakuten Mobile network, and unlimited calls through its communications app Rakuten Link.