Since it was established in the late 1990s Rakuten has recorded rapid growth; starting as a small e-commerce company, by 2004 it was the second ranking site in Japan. Rakuten's goal is to become the world's biggest Internet services company. The company started expansion with selected markets in Asia-Pacific, followed by acquisitions in the Americas and Europe.
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Rakuten's business model is one-stop access to a wide range of services via the Internet, offering its merchants lower user fees compared to other online malls. At the moment, the company generates the majority of its revenues from Japan, holding a leadership position in each of the businesses within its core segments.
Rakuten's goal is to become the world's biggest Internet services company. In order to realize this, the company started its expansion in Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Europe by deploying different business models in each region.
While expanding beyond the Japanese market, Rakuten faces challenges; the recent economic crisis, except creating new M&A opportunities, has triggered selective internationalization among online giants. A strategy for Rakuten, may involve focusing on untapped countries or niche segments instead.
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