[WorldKings - Wowtimes - Almanac Events & Achievements 2023] Highlights of the 26-year development journey of Rakuten Group, Inc., the largest e-commerce company in Japan (1997)


(Worldkings.org) Over the years, the Rakuten Group has experienced remarkable growth. From six employees in a humble Tokyo office, it has more than 27,000 employees with operations in 30 countries and regions around the globe.

Rakuten Group, Inc. is the largest ecommerce company in Japan, and third largest ecommerce marketplace company worldwide. Rakuten provides a variety of consumer and business-focused services including e-commerce, e-reading, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, portal and media, online marketing and professional sports.  The company is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Western Europe, and the Americas. 

Founded by Hiroshi Mikitani in 1997, Rakuten has more than 28,000 employees worldwide, operations in 30 countries and regions, and total sales of US$12.8 billion as of 2021.


The company’s milestones:

February 1997: MDM, Inc. (currently Rakuten, Inc.) is founded.

May 1997: Rakuten Ichiba, the internet shopping mall, begins service.

1998: Rakuten Super Auction, the predecessor service of Rakuten Auction, is launched. (It was ultimately incorporated into the Rakuma C2C flea market app in 2016.)

1999: MDM, Inc. is renamed as Rakuten, Inc.


2000: Rakuten University is established to deliver the know-how of managing an internet shop for merchants on Rakuten Ichiba.

2001: Launched online hotel reservation service Rakuten Travel and online book shopping service Rakuten Books.

2004: Rakuten Baseball, Inc. is founded to manage professional sports businesses.


2006: Rakuten and All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (ANA) establish Rakuten ANA Travel Online Co., Ltd.

2008: Rakuten launches a Taiwan-based internet shopping mall business, Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba, by establishing a joint venture with President Chain Store Corp, a leading retail company in Taiwan.

2009: Rakuten further strengthens the Rakuten Ecosystem by expanding its financial services, such as banking and e-money.

2010: Rakuten accelerates its global business, shifting from a Japan-based venture to a global internet services company.

2012: Rakuten enters the eBook business and the official start of "Englishnization."

2013: Rakuten launches Rakuten Energy, the energy service business of the Rakuten Group.

2015: Rakuten begins relocation to new global headquarters Rakuten Crimson House in Futako Tamagawa, Tokyo.


2016: Rakuten further explores new business models, such as a C2C marketplace and an open e-commerce platform, while also conducting a trial drone delivery service.

2017: Logos of Rakuten Group services around the world unified under "Rakuten" brand in order to strengthen brand awareness globally.


2018: The Rakuten Institute of Technology opens its operations center in Bengaluru, India, marking its fifth country and sixth office worldwide.

2020: 5G service launches, and with a focus on the New Normal, a shift from online to offline (O2O) is strengthened.

2021: Trade name changed from “Rakuten, Inc.” to “Rakuten Group, Inc.”


- Rakuten launches its nationwide online supermarket platform, Rakuten Zenkoku Super.

- Rakuten launches regular delivery service using unmanned ground vehicles (UGV).


According to global.rakuten.com & Wikipedia

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