Rakuten – Another foreign site failed in China
Rakuten, the biggest e-commerce site in Japan, announced on April 20 that its Chinese e-commerce site would be closed on April 27. Followed by AOL, Ebay, Myspace, Groupen, Rakuten is another foreign players announced to quit China. The reason Rakuten gave is the intensive competition and might go back later. To be the biggest in Japan, Rakuten should be used to competition and be fully prepared.
The rumor about the withdaw of Rakuten has been spread for quite a while. Actually, Rakuten is quite positive about the market in China 2 years. The trendy Japanese products are favored by lots of young people, and would like to pay more to get it directly from Japan. The cooperation with Baidu is a free path to branding on all Baidu channels and get traffic directly from Baidu without burn money for search engine advertising. At that time, only Taobao is the biggest, and the later players such as 360buy, Dangdang are not big enough.
Though users can still order from Rakuten global site (still has Chinese site), the shoppint experience will not be convenient, for on the global site, no local payment support and shipping support. A few big players have eaten up the entire market share. To go back? It seems a mission impossible for Rakuten.
*Image is from Rakuten
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