Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten has been pursuing an aggressive global expansion policy throughout 2014, particularly in Europe, mostly through acquisitions. But today it has disclosed another path, launching Rakuten.co.uk that will serve as a marketplace for independent retailers to sell online across the UK.
The marketplace will initially start with some UK merchants on board before opening up to international merchants, according to the press release. In addition to independent retailers in the UK, the shoppers will be able to buy items including food and drink, health and beauty, clothing and pet care, among others. Rakuten’s e-books business Kobo and video platform Wuaki will also be available for use of the UK customers by the end of this year.
The company says they are preparing for a global platform where customers are able to buy from Rakuten marketplaces worldwide.
“What consumers want from retailers is continually changing, however the desire for a personal and entertaining experience remains constant,” commented Kenji Hirose, CEO of Rakuten Europe. “With the launch of Rakuten.co.uk we are making it easier for shoppers to discover what they want and empowering merchants to provide it. Over the next 12 months we will pioneer a new era of borderless retail and entertainment by integrating our e-commerce offering with our global ecosystem of Internet services, to make shopping more fun.”
Tokyo-based Rakuten Inc. is among the world’s leading internet service and e-commerce companies. Its main business arms also include finance and digital content. It’s among Forbes’ ‘Top 20 Most Innovative Companies’. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is currently operating in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania, with over 11,000 employees worldwide.