Message from CEO

Global Innovation Company:
Empowering people to realize their dreams

Since we founded Rakuten in 1997, innovation has been at the core of who we are and in 2016, we redefined our vision to represent what that means for the years ahead.

As the internet becomes a given in all of our lives, and a part of the world’s essential infrastructure, Rakuten is thinking about what that change means for us all, 10, 20 or 30 years from now.

We started out as champions of innovation in e-commerce. We were the first company globally to successfully launch a merchant-focused e-commerce marketplace, one that is now the platform of choice for more than 40,000 merchants and a leader in our home market of Japan. We were the first to launch a financial business from a position of strength in e-commerce and now we are gaining fast on Japan’s traditional financial sector giants, with credit card membership that puts us in the top three and innovative payment services that once again put us in the forefront of providing best-in-class services to small and medium-size businesses around Japan.

In 2010, I took everyone by surprise by announcing that Rakuten would adopt English as our corporate lingua franca as a fundamental building-block for change and bringing the best of global talent to Rakuten. Today we are a model for businesses around the world aiming to grow outside their national borders.

In a global context, we are challenging the status quo by investing in new business models and start-up talent, from new open platforms for e-commerce to adtech to experiments with drones, chatbots, deep learning and AI.

As Rakuten has matured over our first twenty years, we have also become increasingly aware of the responsibility that comes with innovation and industry leadership. We have lead Japan on improving data management and privacy standards, encouraging diversity and inclusion and developing the next generation of responsible tech entrepreneurs.

Our global footprint continues to grow and, on a daily basis, I am truly inspired by the global talent that chooses to work with us in order to realize their dreams, both within the Rakuten family and in start-ups, academic institutions and businesses we partner with around the world.

I am very optimistic about the future of humanity and the roles that innovation and entrepreneurship will play to realize dreams. Our mission at Rakuten is to support that future and I’m passionate about empowering our customers, our employees, our partners, our shareholders and all other stakeholders to realize their dreams by working with us.

2016.11
Chairman and CEO

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