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January 17, 2013
  • Rakuten, Inc.
  • Yamato Transport Co., Ltd.

Rakuten Ichiba to Start Offering Limited Free International Frozen Shipping to Hong Kong

–Working with Yamato Transport to help bring fresh Japanese seafood to
Hong Kong ahead of Chinese New Year Celebrations–

TOKYO, January 17, 2013 – Rakuten, Inc. today announced the start of a new initiative on the international shipping services site for its Rakuten Ichiba internet shopping mall, Rakuten Global Market (http://global.rakuten.com/en/), that will allow customers in Hong Kong to purchase fresh seafood from participating Rakuten Ichiba merchants through Yamato Transport’s express international frozen shipping service for still-fresh perishable foods. The promotion runs from Thursday, 17 January through Thursday, 31 January, whereby all purchases of products listed on the promotion page are subject to free shipping and will be delivered on and around February 7, 2013.

Rakuten is undertaking this international frozen shipping project in partnership with its logistics subsidiary Rakuten Logistics, Inc. The initiative uses a logistics model created in November 2012 by the speed delivery services of Yamato Transport Co., Ltd. and All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (ANA) and, through which the two companies provide short, next day deliveries to locations around Asia, including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia from a distribution hub in Okinawa prefecture. The companies do this by making full use of features, facilities, and an overseas express delivery network that incorporates ANA’s sizable air transport network – which offers even late night arrivals to Okinawa – as well as 24-hour customs clearance and the use of bonded warehouses within international logistics zones.

Rakuten has been operating the Rakuten Global Market service since 2008 to enable overseas purchases from its Rakuten Ichiba shopping mall. Rakuten Ichiba currently carries the products of approximately 40,000 merchants, of which about 7,000 also offer products on Rakuten Global Market. Currently, the site is making possible sales of fashion items, accessories, toys, and other products to over 200 countries around the world. Many customers have already expressed the desire to buy fresh food from Japan, but up until now, this has been difficult due to obstacles and regulations faced by the distribution networks that would send perishable products in a fresh state from Japan.

Against such issues, Rakuten and Yamato Transport have made full use of their international distribution networks in Asia and domestic distribution networks in Japan to realize international frozen shipping. As the firststep in their efforts, the companies are targeting the affluent and resident Japanese in Hong Kong who have high demand for Japanese seafood by offering sales of products such as red king crab from Hokkaido, snow crab from Fukui Prefecture, and abalone from Nagasaki Prefecture as the Chinese New Year holiday season approaches. From Thursday, January 17, until January 31, 2013, Rakuten Logistics will gather orders from Rakuten Ichiba merchants and collaborate with Yamato Transport to send the fresh products together in a frozen shipment to Hong Kong and then deliver them to buyers via a local refrigerated express delivery service.

Rakuten will maintain its partnerships with Yamato Transport for Rakuten Global Market. The companies are now considering which goods will be eligible for international frozen shipping and the subsequent enlargement of the delivery area. Rakuten will continue to support the overseas sales of Japan-based merchants on Rakuten Ichiba, creating systems that can offer a wider selection of top products products from Japan is proud of to customers around the world.

Outline of International Frozen Delivery Services

-URL
  http://global.rakuten.com/zh-tw/event/food/seafood/ (Trad. Chinese)
 http://global.rakuten.com/en/event/food/seafood/ (English)
 http://event.rakuten.co.jp/borderless/event/food/seafood/ (Japanese) 

-Participating merchants:
  Hokkaido-omiyage (http://www.rakuten.co.jp/hokkaido-omiyage/)
  REBUNESE Co., Ltd. (http://www.rakuten.ne.jp/gold/rebun/)
  Yokasakana.com (http://www.rakuten.ne.jp/gold/auc-yokasakana/)
  KOURAGUMI CO., LTD. (http://www.rakuten.co.jp/kouragumi/)

-Eligible products: Red king crab, snow crab, fresh seafood, etc.

-Target customers: Customers in Hong Kong

-Period: January 17 to January 31, 2013

-Delivery method:
 Orders from Hong Kong during the above period will be gathered, and then sent and distributed via frozen shipment using the international and domestic Japanese logistics networks of Yamato Transport.

-Delivery period: Start of February (scheduled)

-Shipping cost: Free

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