Message to Shareholders and Investors
Empowering individuals and society through innovation and entrepreneurship
Rakuten Group’s corporate mission is to empower individuals and society through innovation and entrepreneurship. We strive to contribute to the enrichment of society through innovation and empower many to achieve their goals and provide services which deliver a high standard of satisfaction to users, partners, and other stakeholders.
Message from CEO
On behalf of the Rakuten Group, I would like to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to those who have been affected by the global pandemic. 2020 was a year of many dramatic changes for the world, for Japan and for the Rakuten Group. As the world felt the attack ofthe unprecedented and tragic spread of COVID-19, people's values and behaviors shifted significantly, digital transformation accelerated, and we also saw some new business opportunities.
In the mobile business, we launched full-scale commercial 4G and 5G services using a fully virtualized cloud-native mobile network. The number of applications for subscriptions to our Rakuten UN-LIMIT service plan topped 2 million as of December 31, 2020. In January 2021, we announced Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI, providing a single plan with a simple fee structure that flexibly adjusts to everyone’s needs and the number of applications has accelerated since then. We are also looking forward to further expanding our lineup of services to offer our customers innovative mobile services never before available in the market. We are also set to make major strides into the global telecommunications industry with the Japan-built fully virtualized technology of the Rakuten communication platforms.
In the internet services business, domestic e-commerce gross merchandise sales saw major year-on-year growth of 19.9%. This was driven by growth in our e-commerce business anchored by Rakuten Ichiba, boosted by the successful introduction of a unified free shipping threshold for participating merchants, and the strengthening of our logistics infrastructure, as well as the increasing demand for online shopping due to the progress of digital transformation, etc.
In the FinTech business, we achieved major milestones including Rakuten Card’s membership base surpassing 21 million cardholders, the number of Rakuten Bank accounts surpassing 9 million, and the number of Rakuten Securities accounts surpassing 5 million in 2020. Boosted by Japanese government initiatives promoting cashless payments and changes in the way people behave under the new normal, our customer base also expanded in payment businesses including Rakuten Pay, Rakuten Edy and Rakuten Point Card.
Internationally, businesses such as Rakuten Viber, Rakuten Viki and Rakuten Kobo are steadily expanding their customer base. At the same time, we reviewed our business portfolioand exited some of our loss-making businesses.
As a result of these efforts, the Rakuten Group’s global user base expanded to around 1.5 billion and global gross transaction value grew to ¥22 trillion. In 2020, Group revenue showed strong growth, reaching approximately ¥1.5 trillion, up 15.2% year-on-year. The Rakuten Group recorded Non-GAAP operating losses of ¥102.7 billion due to investment in future growth such as accelerated network expansion in the mobile business, which is proceeding ahead of schedule, and the further build out of our logistics infrastructure. We will continue to make upfront investments in the mobile business going forward in order to provide high-quality services to our customers, as the addition of the mobile business will also further strengthen and evolve the Rakuten Ecosystem.
Rakuten, Inc. is celebrating its 25th year since establishment. Subject to approval by our shareholders at the General Shareholders’ Meeting, we are preparing to change our company name from Rakuten, Inc. to Rakuten Group, Inc.
This year, we will continue to strive to increase our corporate value and shareholder value by driving the evolution of an ecosystem that enables sustainable growth in partnership with all of our stakeholders, as expressed by our corporate slogan, “Walk Together.”
Thank you for your continued understanding and support.
Representative Director, Chairman,
President and CEO