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Rakuten shuts Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia ops

Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc is shutting its operations in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia affecting under 150 employees.

Nonetheless, the company will still have a regional headquarter in Singapore. A spokesperson from Rakuten has confirmed this with Marketing.

“Rakuten is closing early model B2B2C e-commerce marketplaces in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. This is part of a transformation of e-commerce that is key to Rakuten’s global strategy map for the future as announced on February 12. In SE Asia, as the market itself changes and adapts, we are looking toward C2C and mobile business models for e-commerce and other businesses,” read the statement given to Marketing.

Going forward, Rakuten’s “transformation of the business model for e-commerce” will include a greater focus on customer satisfaction and a quality experience in Japan, where Rakuten is the market leader. The company will also now focus on the development of the ecosystem model in Taiwan; acceleration of cross-border trading in East Asia and an open e-commerce strategy led by Ebates in the United States.

There will also be an introduction of C2C mobile services across the globe.

While the company was unable to comment on the number of marketing staff that will be affected, it added that Rakuten will support employees with redundancy compensation above and beyond legal requirements in each local country.

“We will endeavour to provide assistance to employees to find alternative employment,” said the company.

In the company’s fourth quarter financial results for 2015, Rakuten said its vision for 2020 is to improve quality, be faster than competitors and maximize customer satisfaction.

Earlier in 2014, Rakuten embarked on an acquisition spree and acquired chat app Viber for US$900 million. This is its latest move into the digital content space, following its acquisitions of Kobo, Wuaki.tv, and Viki.

Rakuten also agreed acquire Ebates, provider of a cash-back shopping website in North America. The company will acquire Ebates for a total  of US$1 billion in cash, and will hold 100% of Ebates outstanding voting stock.

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