Global innovation company: Rakuten

Global innovation company: Rakuten


A few days ago Japan celebrated Mother’s Day. And one special gift caught press attention. A Japanese golfer offered flowers to his mum via drone. The wonderful blooms were delivered by the Rakuten’s Sora Raku: drone service aimed at golfers. And we must admit that we feel proud.

As some of you know, we’re a part of the Rakuten Group – the Japanese electronic commerce and Internet company. We’re currently closely integrating with them and we’re excited about the endless opportunities ahead! So if you haven’t heard much about Rakuten, here are some interesting facts!

Global innovation company

As a part of their 20 years anniversary celebrations, Rakuten’s new vision is to become the Global Innovation Company: shifting from the internet services focus to innovation, using the power of data.

As mentioned by the CEO and founder of Rakuten Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani, this can be achieved through a unique corporate philosophy: “We would like to enrich and empower society, rather than just pursue efficiency and convenience.”

History of innovation

In the last 2 decades Rakuten has been ahead of the curve. Since 2012 they have been ranked among the world’s ‘Top 20 Most Innovative Companies’ in Forbes magazine’s annual list.

  • They were the first internet company globally to integrate e-Commerce and FinTech together and to introduce a loyalty rewards program with record number of members benefitting from over 70 group services.
  • With over 5000 engineers their technological developments never stop with latest focus being: AI and data:
    • Last month they announced their new collaboration with IBM Japan to build the Rakuten AI Platform,” an internal Rakuten system with the aim of smoothly introducing chatbots with automatic response functions into customer support.
    • They focus on intelligence driven by data: “Now we are really starting to understand the power of data.”

English first

In 2010 they introduced, the almost impossible to pronounce, initiative of Englishnization. To speed knowledge sharing and recruit talent globally they implemented the English-only corporate language. And today 80% of their engineers at Crimson House (their Tokyo HQ) are non-Japanese.

FC Barcelona

Late last year they announced their partnership with FC Barcelona. Starting from 1 July 2017, Rakuten will become FC Barcelona’s Main Global Partner and its first-ever Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner. When football fans are looking forward to the new season, we cannot wait for the new Rakuten branded football team jerseys!

Arm in arm with market leaders

Broadening business portfolio has been a key expansion strategy for Rakuten. Today Aquafadas  is a part of the group including number of famous, highly innovative companies. To only mention a few, within the Rakuten Group there are: online coupon and cashback company Ebates, digital content distributing platform Overdrive, e-reader manufacturer Kobo, French e-commerce website PriceMinister, the Internet messaging and calling service Viber, digital content platform Viki, video-on-demand and streaming service Wuaki.tv and many more including Aquafadas of course.

Future ahead

With all the fantastic achievements of our mother company, we definitely feel very positive about the future ahead. Rakuten means “optimistic” in Japanese after all.