Since our foundation in 1997 it has been our corporate mission to empower people and society through the Internet, while aiming to become the No. 1 Internet services company in the world.
Many online shopping sites at the time of our foundation were little more than online web catalogs, and few believed that people would buy things on the Internet. It was during such a time that we launched the Internet shopping mall Rakuten Ichiba. Our site was created based on the concept of not having 'system-savvy people run the business' but creating a platform that enabled 'ordinary people skilled in retail' to open their own online shops.
Rakuten Ichiba is the global pioneer of the B2B2C marketplace, which provides the platform, traffic and expertise to empower even small-scale retailers to set up their businesses on the Internet. Through Ichiba, Rakuten aims to introduce consumers to "the joy of discovery" through Internet shopping and to create an environment where merchants and consumers can interact in the same way they might in a real-world marketplace, where transactions can be engaging, exciting, informative, and personal.
Beyond our flagship e-commerce business Rakuten Ichiba, the Rakuten Group has expanded into a diverse array of online services, including eBooks & eReading, travel, banking, securities, credit cards, e-money, portal media, online marketing, and professional sports. The integration of all of our services, which are anchored around our membership loyalty program, Rakuten Super Points, is the Rakuten Ecosystem and the core strategy of our international expansion.
At Rakuten, we are currently accelerating the global expansion of the Rakuten Ecosystem into the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania, starting with our e-commerce, eBooks & eReading, and travel businesses. By introducing our unique corporate philosophy of empowering people and society through the Internet we hope to continue to grow the Rakuten Group globally and to eventually realize our vision of a global Rakuten Ecosystem.
Chairman and CEO