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 condolences to those who have been affected by the global pandemic. This year, the Rakuten Group continued to engage in various activities aimed at raising awareness and helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. We also provided operational support for a large-scale vaccination center in Kobe City and provided vaccination opportunities in the form of comprehensive regional workplace vaccinations for employees, their family members, essential workers, business partners, community residents, and more. The Group’s employees will continue to work as one to contribute in any way they can to the revitalization of economic and social activities.
The Rakuten Group strives to contribute to the development of society by providing new value through its business operations. As people are forced to make changes to their lifestyles, we are driving digital transformation to create new business opportunities and achieve further growth.
2021 was a year of tremendous growth for the Mobile business. As of the end of the year, our own 4G network lines covered 95.6% of the population. This ratio rose to 96% by February 2022. The speed with which our network grew was tremendous, enabling us to reach our target of 96% population coverage nearly four years ahead of the installation plan we submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. We also launched Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI, our new single fee plan that flexibly adjusts to everyone’s needs, and began offering iPhones as well. These efforts drove the steady growth of our customer base, and the cumulative number of subscribers* exceeded 5.5 million in February 2022. The backbone of our mobile operator service is our fully virtualized technologies, for which we are the global pioneer. We have made the service even more compelling, and are also steadily making progress in the global expansion of our communication platforms.
The Internet Services business achieved strong growth in the previous fiscal year, boosted by stay-at-home consumption amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this stay-athome consumption boom has subsided, we have continued to deliver strong growth. As a result of the contributions of our e-commerce business anchored by Rakuten Ichiba, domestic e-commerce gross merchandise sales achieved 5 trillion yen in 2021, up 10.4% year-on-year. The growth in domestic e-commerce gross merchandise sales is testimony to the positive impact of the expansion of the Rakuten Ecosystem, spurred by the remarkable synergy between the Mobile business, such as our mobile operator service, and the rapidly growing FinTech business.
In the FinTech business, we achieved major milestones. These included Rakuten Card’s membership base surpassing 25 million cards issued and the number of Rakuten Securities general securities accounts surpassing 7 million in December 2021, and the number of Rakuten Bank customer accounts surpassing 12 million in January 2022. Boosted by advances in the use of cashless payments, our customer base also expanded in payment businesses including Rakuten Pay, Rakuten Edy, and Rakuten Point Card.
Rakuten Group’s global user base expanded to around 1.6 billion members as a result of these efforts, and global gross transaction value grew to 26.9 trillion yen in 2021. Group revenue showed strong growth, reaching approximately 1.7 trillion yen, up 15.5% year-onyear. We recorded Non-GAAP operating losses as we continued to engage in upfront strategic investments, such as the construction of base stations in the mobile business. At the same time, we are starting to see the tangible effects of the Mobile business on the Rakuten Ecosystem, and we are confident that the Rakuten Ecosystem will continue to evolve and advance further.
In 2022, the Rakuten Group celebrates its 25th anniversary. Over the years, we have taken on the challenges of creating new value through our technologies and business innovation in many diverse fields, such as shopping, finance, mobile communications, and sports. This year, we will continue to strive to enhance our corporate and shareholder value by driving the evolution of an ecosystem that enables sustainable growth, in partnership with all of our stakeholders. As awareness of sustainability as a critical concern grows, we will also focus even more on our environmental efforts to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society.
Thank you for your continued understanding and support.
Representative Director, Chairman,
President and CEO
Rakuten Group, Inc.
* Total number of MNO and MVNO contracts