Japan’s biggest e-commerce company, Rakuten, is slowly plowing its way through the telecoms ecosystem. Commercial partnerships with established vendors—notably, Nokia and Netcracker—are already aiding the strategic advancement with which Rakuten is trying to drive new growth. Rakuten’s endeavor constitutes “new” growth on two fronts: one, it falls outside of the company’s traditional e-commerce offering; and two, Rakuten’s telecom bid to attract users away from major carriers in Japan (NTT Docomo, SoftBank, and KDDI) is propelled by innovative concepts that stem from the enterprise domain. Rakuten’s approach is centered around the notion of membership, a relatively novel concept for a telco world largely spinning around the notion of a “customer.”
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