The dawn of the 5G era is at hand, and the world is on the cusp of massive change. From the tech sector to the entertainment industry, to politics, medicine and communications — fifth-generation cellular network technology promises to transform daily life in both tangible and far-reaching ways. Perhaps most importantly, it also holds the potential to create a brighter future for people around the world.

Such was the theme of Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani’s opening keynote address at Rakuten Optimism in Yokohama, Japan last month — the company’s largest-ever group event. Speaking in front of a capacity crowd in a 5000-seat convention hall that held communications, tech, finance and retail industry leaders and business partners, Mikitani described his vision for the impact of 5G on a broad range of fields, including the rise of AI and machine learning, cashless payments, medical advances, the telcomms industry (into which Rakuten will launch the world’s first end-to-end cloud-native mobile network later this year) and more. The through line: An unwavering optimism and belief in the future.

After reflecting on how far Rakuten has come — from launching one of the world’s first online shopping malls in 1997 to growing into a global innovation leader with more than 70 services, spanning e-commerce, digital content, communications and fintech — his attention turned to the future, one which he predicts will see dramatic change in the next 5 – 10 years.

Mikitani also posed a few thought-provoking questions to conference attendees. Will 5G revolutionize mobility through the rise of autonomous driving? Will language barriers become a thing of the past thanks to advances in AI? Can medical advancements increase the average lifespan to 120 or beyond?

By leveraging the transformative potential of 5G, Rakuten and Mikitani are keen to lead the charge towards a better tomorrow.


Watch the full keynote from Mikitani above, and learn more about the Rakuten Optimism event held in Japan from July 31-August 3 here.

For more information about the upcoming Rakuten Optimism event in San Francisco on October 23, please visit this site.