MESSAGE FROM CEO
President and CEOHiroshi Mikitani
Aiming to be a Company that Empowers People and Society
Empowerment has been the core business value of the Rakuten Group since its inception in 1997. The Internet has sparked a transformation of society that goes far beyond simply using a computer to acquire information conveniently. If you are connected to the Internet, you are able to simultaneously communicate information to everyone and acquire information from anyone, regardless of where they are in the world. Therefore, the Internet has the power to not only make things more convenient, but also substantially transform the structure of society itself. What then is the fundamental value of the Internet? In a single word: Fairness. If you use the Internet, you can dramatically narrow gaps in information and knowledge. For consumers, this means that you are able to easily choose the products and services that best fit your needs from among a multitude of options. For business owners, it means that you can instantly expand your market to all of Japan and the world at low cost, providing business opportunities that previously had been inconceivable. The Rakuten Group wants to help all consumers and business owners take advantage of opportunities fairly provided by the Internet in a way that is a little easier and little more convenient. We use the word "empowerment" to express this commitment. Since our establishment, the Rakuten Group's businesses have steadily expanded thanks to the support of many consumers, business owners and other stakeholders. We intend to continue transforming and enriching society by empowering it through the Internet.
MESSAGE FROM CWO
Group Managing Executive Officer
CWO (Chief Well-Being Officer) Masatada Kobayashi
Our Founding Philosophy
When Rakuten was established in 1997, the founding members, including CEO Mikitani and myself, aimed to revitalize Japan by providing regional businesses with an internet shopping platform that would expand their trading environment. Our theory was that revitalizing regional economies would empower Japan as a whole. We also believed that the companies that would lead the 21st century economy would not be the same large companies that supported Japan’s growth in the 20th century, and that society would be transformed by venture companies like Rakuten. We achieved growth by bringing together people who shared our vision.
In 2017, we added the word “innovation” to our corporate philosophy but the past twenty years have been a time of continual innovation. When we established Rakuten, we aimed to bring happiness to people and prosperity to society by combining the existing mail order with internet technologies, which were considered innovative at the time. Today, as the internet has become a normal part of our everyday life, Rakuten employees are determined to come up with innovations that will transform society in a similar way.
Sharing Ideas Globally
I was CEO of our regional headquarters in America and Asia. That experience taught me that our philosophy of making people happy and improving society is shared in every country. The goal of the founding members to revitalize local economies has remained unchanged, despite Rakuten’s growth into a company with 15,000 employees worldwide.
Employees with diverse backgrounds and nationalities work together. We have created an environment that enables everyone, including employees caring for children or aging relatives, LGBT people, and people with disabilities, to enjoy their work and reach their full potential. We have made English the official language of our Group, reflecting the fact that a growing number of our activities are based overseas in countries that are world leaders in terms of sustainability, notably European and North American countries. I believe that a team rich in diversity will encourage innovation and enhance Rakuten’s long-term competitiveness.
Aiming for a Sustainable Society
Most Rakuten employees are people who joined the company because they shared our determination to empower society. My role as CWO is to turn the commitment and potential of these people into tangible results. We will create an environment in which employees will be able to express this commitment not only through company activities, but also through voluntary initiatives.
I believe that we have enormous potential to provide solutions for social issues through our various services. All Rakuten Group employees, including myself, share a continuing determination to take up new challenges without fear of failure. We will continue to work toward the creation of a sustainable society through new initiatives.