A lot of people not in Asia will probably not know who the company representing the question mark is. I myself didn’t really take notice of this company till they bought Viki – just due to the fact that it was a Singapore deal in the video space. Anyone who has ever been to Japan will have heard of Rakuten and of course all around Asia they have been launching various initiatives and buying up companies.
Now they buy Viber for some serious cash.
Where is this going?
This is their statement regarding the Viber deal:
“As Rakuten aims to become the world’s number one Internet services company, this acquisition will enable Rakuten to penetrate new markets with multiple digital content offerings, in combination with its e-commerce and financial services platforms,” the company says.
At first you could just pass that comment off as PR hubris but when you look at who they are buying and if you have ever heard Hiroshi Mikitani talk, one must take the statement somewhat seriously.
Rakuten wants to go global and it looks like they are going to buy and build whatever they need to get there.
I still don’t see the cohesive vision or how all the pieces fit together but for sure they are trying to make it happen.
This is going to be fun to watch.