Rakuten to maintain regional HQ in Singapore as it retools e-commerce strategy

Rakuten to maintain regional HQ in Singapore as it retools e-commerce strategy

The Japanese e-commerce giant is moving towards a customer-to-customer mobile-centric strategy.

SINGAPORE: Japanese Internet services giant Rakuten is closing its marketplaces in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia as part of a retooling of its e-commerce strategy, the company said on Saturday (Feb 13).

It has announced that these websites will shut down come Mar 1.

The closure comes as it moves from a business-to-business-to-customer (B2B2C) model in the region towards a customer-to-customer, (C2C) m-commerce focus. "In SE Asia, as the market itself changes and adapts, we are looking toward C2C and mobile business models for e-commerce and other businesses," a spokesperson said.

"Rakuten's transformation of the business model for e-commerce will include a greater focus on customer satisfaction and a quality experience in Japan, where Rakuten is the market leader; development of the ecosystem model in Taiwan; acceleration of cross-border trading in East Asia; an open e-commerce strategy led by Ebates in the United States; and introduction of C2C mobile services across the globe," the spokesperson added.

Rakuten confirmed that under 150 employees across Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia will be laid off. "As part of this transition, we will support employees with redundancy compensation above and beyond legal requirements in each local country and we will endeavour to provide assistance to employees to find alternative employment," the company stated.

Rakuten will also maintain its regional headquarters in Singapore and continue to operate other businesses in the Southeast Asia, it said. Other Rakuten operations active in the region include Rakuten Travel, Viber, Kobo, Rakuten Institute of Technology and Rakuten Ventures.

The company added that the Rakuten Institute of Technology in Singapore is unaffected by the developments.

Source: CNA/ly