Rakuten launches Austria site: But what’s the big plan?

We welcome competition and we want to see more marketplaces and opportunities for online sellers. So it’s interesting to see that Rakuten has made its most recent putsch into Austria with the launch of Rakuten Austria.

This latest territorial expansion is the latest from the Japanese company which has been on a buying spree since 2010. They’ve snapped up Webgistix, PriceMinister, Play.com, Buy.com, Tradoria, Ikeda, Alpha Direct Services, Wuaki and MediaForge over the past few years.

And it’s not just about buying, they’re investing too. As their latest release notes: “Just last month Rakuten launched its Asian Startup Fund, based out of its Asia regional headquarters in Singapore. The fund will target start-ups and entrepreneurial businesses related to e-commerce, Internet services and digital content.”  They also apparently led the most recent $100m investment round in Pinterest.

They also say: “Since rebranding, Rakuten Brazil has seen a year-on-year increase in orders of 1000%, while Rakuten Germany has grown its merchant base by 30%. A key focus for all of the e-commerce platforms has been the development of technology solutions to make the consumers’ life easier, namely by launching dedicated mobile apps for buyers in France, and driving mobile campaigns to grow mobile orders in Indonesia by a staggering 438%. Additionally, partnerships with major financial service providers such as MasterCard in the US now allows the business to offer digital wallet and payment solutions to American consumers while a similar agreement with both MasterCard and Visa offers the same benefits across Thailand.”

And all that is very well but what’s the real news for you, loyal Tamebay reader? And the answer to that is: “not much yet.” Rakuten have yet to break through into the imaginations of British ecommerce entrepreneurs. Watch this space?