Last month, Rakuten India employees and global leaders celebrated the official unveiling of the company’s new regional headquarters, Rakuten Crimson House Bengaluru, a state-of-the-art 20-storey facility in the heart of the city. Led by Yasufumi Hirai, CIO and CISO, Group Executive Vice President of Rakuten Group, Sunil Gopinath, CEO of Rakuten India, Rahul Agarwal from Aloha, and Sandeep Dwivedi from InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., the opening inauguration brought together more than 1,200 employees, customers and partners. That ceremony was then followed by a traditional Indian lunch, All Hands Meeting and reception event in the evening.
An important tech hub for the future
Congratulating Rakuten India on the momentous event through a video message to employees, Mickey Mikitani, Chairman & CEO of Rakuten Group said, “Rakuten India has become one of the most important tech hubs for Rakuten Group and the innovation you are making is unbelievable! Rakuten is a global company. You are developing the platform and services that are globally advanced and transformative. As we grow, it is obvious that we need to become more global and our presence in India in many fronts is going to become even more important.”
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Let me add lunch and dinner to that as well. We are competing with Big Tech but creating our own footprints in the sand, because we are walking together.”Sunil Gopinath, CEO of Rakuten India
Rakuten first expanded into India in 2016 when it set up a technology operation center in Bengaluru and has now grown into the company’s largest development centre outside of Japan. The new office will further enhance the company’s capability for deep-tech innovation and R&D in areas such as e-commerce, fintech, content and entertainment, as well as AI, computer vision, speech, and natural language processing (NLP). Rakuten ‘SixthSense,’ the company’s homegrown SaaS product, an all-in-one observability intelligence software, hit the Indian market last year.
“India is and has been central to our growth strategy. Our new R&D centre will build on the high value-added engagements that Rakuten has been delivering from India on deep tech and product innovation,” said Hirai, underscoring the importance of Rakuten India’s tech innovation.
From horse-driven chariot rides to traditional dance: Celebrating in style
The day-long festivities were kicked off with a performance of Dollu Kunitha and Veera Ghase, the traditional dance forms of Karnataka, and were followed by Hirai and Gopinath taking a dramatic horse-driven chariot ride around the office. To add to the excitement, the day also involved a DJ set, dinner, dance and musical performances.
From wrapping the elaborate, celebratory Indian lunch with a Japanese dessert to a kagami biraki ceremony (the opening of a celebratory cask of sake) by leaders during the All Hands meeting; the celebrations were a blend of both Indian and Japanese cultures.
“India is and has been central to our growth strategy. Our new R&D centre will build on the high value-added engagements that Rakuten has been delivering from India on deep tech and product innovation.”Yasufumi Hirai, CIO and CISO, Group Executive Vice President of Rakuten Group
“Looking back, we’ve had numerous accomplishments. It is hard to mention them all, but some surely deserve a mention: RPay, Rakuten ID, NFT Marketplace, Rakuten Tickets, AI for Optimal Cancer Treatments, Cloud & Infrastructure Service, Catalog, Data Sciences and Analytics, Applied AI, Merchant Services for Ichiba, SixthSense and more. They have contributed to our top-line growth and profitability,” noted Gopinath on stage at the reception event in the evening. “We are not crystal-ball gazing, but it is apparent what the trends of tomorrow look like: AI in every business, crypto and defi, Metaverse, fintech and healthcare will dominate with revolutionary changes given their ecumenical usage and global scale. We will be in that space too.”
Added Gopinath to the thousand-plus employees in attendance, “The fact that we made into Great Places to Work For (GPTW) for the third time in a row, or the Top 15 Data Science Companies to Work For is a testimony to our culture. As we know, culture eats strategy for breakfast. Let me add lunch and dinner to that as well. We are competing with Big Tech but creating our own footprints in the sand, because we are walking together.”