Rakuten to Raise $2.2 Billion as Japan Post, Tencent Invest

Chengdu’s Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li shopping development. Shutterstock.

The Japanese e-commerce giant will sell shares to investors including Japan Post Holdings, WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and Walmart in a bid to fend off rivals like Amazon, The Japan Times reports.

Japan Post, which has partnered with Rakuten on logistics for two years, will take an 8.32 percent stake in the business. The Chinese tech giant and US retailer are making smaller bets, a filing made on Friday shows.

The battle for Japan’s e-commerce space is heating up in the wake of Covid-19, which has shifted spending online. Just this month, messaging app Line merged with SoftBank-owned Yahoo Japan, which in 2019 agreed to buy a 30 percent stake in online fashion player Zozo for $3 billion.

Rakuten plans on funnelling the investment into AI and its mobile network, but boosting e-commerce will be the priority — joint logistics centres, shared delivery systems and cashless payments are already on the list. “Having access to Japan Post’s network will be a crucial advantage,” chief executive officer Hiroshi Mikitani said at a briefing in Tokyo.

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