Rakuten closes global marketplace, aims to strengthen local offerings

Japanese eCommerce platform Rakuten Global Market will be ceasing operations from 1 June 2020 onwards. In a closure announcement posted on its website, the company said it will be taking order purchases until 1 June, and its stores will complete their shipment by 15 June. Consumers will still be able to shop from Rakuten through its Japan-based platform Rakuten Ichiba, as well as use its international delivery service Rakuten Global Express. It is added that Rakuten Taiwan, Rakuten US, Rakuten France, and Rakuten Germany will remain unaffected.

In a statement to Marketing, a spokesperson from Rakuten said: "Rakuten has an extensive portfolio of global and local eCommerce and other online services that are constantly adapting and improving to cater to our local customer needs and online shopping trends. As we move to strengthen our local offerings with our own platforms and flagship store partners in Taiwan, China and other markets, we have also made the decision to discontinue the service previously offered as a global cross-border marketplace site."

Established in 2009, Rakuten Global Market allows shoppers to connect with merchants on Rakuten Ichiba, providing automatic translation, as well as payment and delivery solutions, to create a borderless shopping experience. According to its official blog, the global site is run by Rakuten’s Cross-Border Trading department, who also manages flagship stores offering Rakuten Ichiba products on other major marketplaces around the world, including China’s Kaola and JD.com, and Korea’s Gmarket and 11STREET.

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Earlier in February, Rakuten partnered with Singapore-based AI company SQREEM Technologies to launch its jointly established company Rakuten SQREEM. The new company will provide AI-based marketing solutions to companies and advertisers in Japan. The new company will marry Rakuten's data with SQREEM's AI behavioural pattern analysis data to come up with marketing solutions and enable media buying for Internet advertising through partners. It will also provide advertisers with a real-time picture of increasingly complex consumer behaviour, hoping to improve advertisers' ad performance and cost efficiencies. 

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