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Rakuten shuts down online shopping operations in Singapore

By Liu Hongzuo - on 18 Feb 2016, 3:30pm

Rakuten shuts down online shopping operations in Singapore

Rakuten Singapore.

Rakuten is closing their business-to-consumer online marketplace in parts of Southeast Asia. Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia are affected, and the closure will see approximately 150 employees affected by Rakuten’s change of strategy for the region. Users of the site will not be able to shop on Rakuten Singapore after 1st march 2016.

The Japanese e-commerce site will keep its SEA regional headquarters in Singapore operational. They will also keep the e-commerce business in Thailand, as it is doing well. However, Rakuten is selling off Tarad, a Thai-based platform with similar marketplace features.

Rakuten's annoucement to its users on its website.

According to Marketing Interactive, the announcement was made on 12th February 2016 via Rakuten’s fourth quarter financial results. An English version of the results is available for download via Rakuten here. Rakuten also gave a separate statement to Marketing Interactive, which we’ve quoted below:

“Rakuten is closing early model B2B2C e-commerce marketplaces in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. This is part of a transformation of e-commerce that is key to Rakuten’s global strategy map for the future as announced on February 12. 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.”

The e-commerce company will then proceed to focus on their key markets, such as Japan and Taiwan. They will also develop their cash-back website, Ebates.

Rakuten's 'future models' as highlighted in Vision 2020.

In the Vision 2020 financial and strategy statement released by Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce operator hinted at a “C2C mobile app (Rakuma)” as a future e-commerce model for Southeast Asia. Rakuma is an online flea marketplace app that’s available in Japanese, on the Japanese iOS App Store and Google Play Store. Rakuten also invested in second-hand marketplace app Carousell. They’ve also acquired chat app Viber, and drama-streaming app Viki.

Source: Marketing Interactive