Monday, July 6, 2009

Rakuten looking to Taiwan and Korea for expansion

Looks like it is Japan week here are the blog. Not sure if it is because the market is entering a new phase or because I am planning a trip there for next week and am spotting more stories. Earlier in the week it was some general market statistics from iMedia Asia. Yesterday Japan's number one online travel company Rakuten caught TechCrunch's attention. Today we have another story about Rakuten - this time on their international expansion plans. Here is a link to a Google translated Japanese language story on Rakuten called "Rakuten Travel, the second half will focus on international expansion - increase in overseas bases, and strengthen customer inbound transportation"

Couple of highlights:
  • This year's expansion push will be Beijing, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan;
  • In Taiwan will be selling inventory through Taiwanese player Eztravel. [BOOT note - EzTravel is part owned by Ctrip - who in turn used to be, but are no longer, part owned by Rakuten. But back in 2007 Rakuten sold out of Ctrip and in 2008 announced further plans for pushing into China ; and
  • To enter the US market through setting up an office in Hawaii "next month". [BOOT note - we presume this is for inbound only].
The Google translation of the article makes for challenging reading but Rakuten is making their intentions clear and are making expansion a priority.

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