Rakuten to open UK and DE site this year

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Rakuten are reported in The Japan Times as intending to launch sites this year in the UK and Germany to directly compete with eBay and Amazon.

Rakuten opened a retail site aimed at attracting UK buyers in September 2010. The site is translated into English by Google, but the trading currency is still Japenese Yen.

The company have been on the acquisition trial for a number of years and already own Buy.com and PriceMinister. Between them these two companies give Rakuten a presence in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Rakuten say they’re open to more acquisitions, but will also build their own site. Recruiting enough sellers to stock new sites in the UK and Germany won’t be a problem. Not only do they have Buy.com and PriceMinister to supply product, but Rakuten is already the biggest online retailer/marketplace in Japan so can instantly port those products to European sites.

It will be interesting to see if there’s room for a third player in Europe and how quickly they’ll gain traction amongst buyers. One thing’s for sure though, they have fairly deep pockets and the chances are high that they’ll do all they can initially to buy market share.

14 Responses

  1. We keep on saying that there are problems with ebay. So lets wait and see just what they have on offer. Obviously if the final version is to gain any market share at all in the UK it has to be in £sterling and not yen. But lets keep an open mind. People don’t use ibid because it is not user friendly, I can never find what I am looking for whenever I try it.

  2. ebay works because its in English or most that use it can understand at least a small amount of english
    I cant think of any country in the world that speaks Japanese as a second language, or teach japanese other than the japanese,
    the only japanese words I know is honda toyota ,nissan, sony, etc

  3. I found myself thinking about the assertion that sellers in the UK and Germany would be easy to recruit. I wonder if that is true? Obviously they would need to offer inducements to get large numbers onto the site. Free Listings Lower FVF less silly rules and continuous changes etc might make getting onto the site attractive. But at the end of the day we want to sell our product. So that needs Buyers. To attract Buyers in large enough numbers is going to be a problem. Without Buyers those Sellers who are attracted will soon start to drift away again. Perhaps they are going to offer Free T-shirts(and hats)

  4. I love Rakuten, and shop there at least once a month.

    I have fed back to them on the pain points that UK consumers face with the site.



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