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Now Japan’s Alibaba, Rakuten, All Set to Enter Indian ECommerce Space!

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Rakuten Japan

It is fascinating to see how India’s ECommerce market is shaping up – While Flipkart has been the leader of the pack since ECommerce revolution caught up in India – it looks like they are going to find it very difficult to maintain their throne.

Amazon, in less than 3 years since launch, has already surpassed Flipkart in terms of traffic and are probably pretty close to their GMV as well.

But Amazon is not the only threat they have – Looking at Alibaba’s moves in recent times, it might be a bigger threat to homegrown players like Flipkart and Snapdeal.

And now, we have a another new player in the mix – Rakuten. Also known as the Alibaba of Japan, Rakuten is Japan’s top eCommerce company, and now plans to enter fast growing Indian eCommerce space.

According to a ET report, Rakuten has opened a business office in Bengaluru and has started poaching mid-level managers from Flipkart and Amazon for setting up online retail marketplace in India. Rakuten spokesperson did not confirm this news, India is a vibrant growth market and a great source of talent and ideas for us at Rakuten. We are always interested in new global opportunities for growth but we don’t have any comments on developments in India at this time,”

Rakuten is Japan’s biggest ecommerce player accounting for over 25 percent of Japan’s total eCommerce business and is ahead of Amazon Japan. Interestingly, Rakuten also owns popular messaging app Viber. They have a presence in North America after they acquired buy.com in all cash deal in 2010.

While e-commerce is Rakuten’s main business, over the years they have also diversified into travel, financial and telecom services as well.

Just couple of weeks back, Indian government stamped their approval on 100 percent FDI in Marketplace ECommerce, opening up the floodgates  for players like Rakuten to enter India without worrying about legal issues.

In all probability, Alibaba’s Marketplace should go live by the end of year. With Rakuten also throwing their hat in the ring, it’s going to be extreme competition for incumbent players like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Infibeam, Shopclues and others.

One thing is sure – we as consumers are going to be spoilt for choices when it comes to Online buying.

On the flip side, the new guidelines announced by Government have essentially halted the attractive deals and discounts offered by online marketplaces. The guidelines say that market place provider (read Flipkart, Amazon, etc) cannot ‘influence’ the pricing of the products sold on their marketplace; which essentially means that the era of discounts is now over.

All in all, we have a very interesting and fascinating battle in Indian eCommerce space ahead of us!

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  1. […] a time when global ecommerce biggies like Rakuten is entering India; & rivals like Flipkart have already started offering travel services, this […]

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