Japan’s largest online commerce company Rakuten has officially launched Rakuten Belanja Online in Indonesia with Media Nusantara Citra (MNC) Group as its local partner. Rakuten Belanja Online or RBO is the company’s latest move to dominate the global online marketplace.
RBO’s marketplace had been active since March of this year but plans of the launch had to be postponed following the earthquake in Japan later that month.
Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said, “RBO is expected to contribute to the growth of Indonesia’s e-commerce by empowering merchants and consumers through the power of the internet”.
The joint venture agreement with MNC Group as its partner ultimately came down to the size and reach of the group as a media powerhouse. According to MNC Group CEO Hary Tanoesoedibjo, the aim of the cooperation is to turn RBO into the country’s number one online mall by combining Rakuten’s expertise and experience with his group’s significant presence in the media industry which spans across television, radio, and print.
MNC Group holds a 49% stake in the joint venture with the remaining 51% held by Rakuten. Total planned investment in the venture is approximately Rp 60 billion.
Rakuten Belanja Online joins a seemingly active marketplace with Juale, Multiply, Tokobagus, Tokopedia, and Plasa as the more established competitors. The local venture is being led by Rio Inaba as its CEO and president director. Previously he was hired to be the general manager of Rakuten Indonesia.
While the number of initial sellers isn’t great, Rakuten Belanja Online plans to expand its tenancy significantly before the end of the year. When it began in Japan in 1997, it only had a handful of merchants and now it’s the largest online marketplace in Japan with significant operations in France, United States, China, Thailand and Taiwan.
Rakuten is applying a similar strategy in Indonesia by recruiting well known local brands such as Electronic Solutions, Mustika Ratu, Sarinah, Martha Tilaar, Kinokuniya, and Top Golf as its anchor tenants to accelerate the snowball effect. The lure of big name retailers on the site is hoped to bring trust to the site and entice other companies to join the online mall.
To facilitate payments, RBO has enlisted the services of BCA and Bank Mandiri as well as using an escrow service to help reduce fraud. Rakuten is working to enlist other banks to provide a greater payment option.