Groceries display with Rakuten, Seiyu logos behind
Image credit: Rakuten

Brief: Walmart, Tencent join $2.2bn funding for Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten

March 15, 2021

  • US retailer Walmart and Chinese tech firm Tencent are partnering conglomerate Japan Post Holdings to invest ¥242 billion yen ($2.2 billion) into Tokyo-based e-commerce company Rakuten, Nikkei Asia reports.
  • Japan Post will invest ¥150 billion to take an 8% stake in Rakuten, while Tencent’s Image Frame Investment will pay ¥65 billion for a 3.65% stake and Walmart will pay ¥16 billion for 0.92%. Two other undisclosed investors are also participating in the funding.
  • Rakuten said it will use the funds to enhance its logistics capabilities.

Why it matters:

Walmart sold 85% of Seiyu, its wholly owned Japanese supermarket business, to Rakuten and asset manager KKR earlier this month. That deal was aimed at accelerating the digitalization of Seiyu into “Japan’s leading omnichannel retailer.”

The US retail giant unveiled a strategic alliance with Rakuten — Japan’s biggest online retailer —  in January 2018, with the pair collaborating to launch online grocery platform Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper later that year.

Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper has reportedly become Japan’s leading e-grocer, with 11.2% market share as of May last year – ahead of key competitor Amazon‘s Fresh service on 5%.

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