2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, and 18 years since the founding of Rakuten. From our foundation at a time when “people will not buy goods on the internet” we are aiming towards becoming the global number 1 internet services company and we have constructed a sophisticated and unique business model. The expression “Internet of Things” is becoming widely used, and it has become possible to link all goods through the internet. What has become commonplace in the world has led to a redefinition with the birth of new technologies, and the flow of goods to digital contents is accelerating. Under such an environment, Rakuten entered the digital contents business speedily with the acquisition of Rakuten Kobo.
In 2014, messaging app Viber, with over 500 million unique IDs registered globally, and US online cash back site Ebates, joined the Rakuten Group, and the global membership which forms the core of the Rakuten ecosystem was considerably expanded. In a world without fences or borders, by creating various synergies, global gross transaction value was approximately JPY 6.7 trillion.
By offering services, not goods, the smoothness of communication has an extremely important meaning for us as a global internet company. Through the use of English as our corporate language, overseas group employees and partner companies have been able to exchange information and the speed of joint development has dramatically improved, and this is having an effect on the acceleration of our global expansion.
In 2015, we plan to move the head office to the Futako-Tamagawa area of Tokyo to gather our domestic group companies together. We expect further efficiencies and the creation of synergies. This could be a turning point for Rakuten to create a new corporate culture. We will keep challenging ourselves with an entrepreneurial spirit guided by our unique corporate philosophy of empowering people and society through the internet.
We will also continue to realize corporate and shareholder value by offering the most innovative technologies within our ecosystem.