Almost 15 years ago, Rakuten launched its e-commerce platform in Taiwan, before quickly expanding into e-reading, banking, and other financial services. Today, some seven million people hold a Rakuten account — more than 30% of Taiwan’s population — and Rakuten is a household name among local consumers.
In January 2015, Rakuten Card launched the Taiwan Rakuten Card, a new credit card service that integrated seamlessly into the Taiwanese Rakuten ecosystem. Leaning into Rakuten’s Japanese roots with travel discounts and other Japan-related perks, the card quickly became a popular choice for Japan-lovers, issuing over 600,000 cards as of April 2022.
On May 31, 2022, the Taiwan Rakuten Card team took their ambitions one step further, announcing the airline’s first ever co-branded credit card with airline Tigerair Taiwan. The collaboration will see the airline launch its first ever co-branded credit card, complete with a number of juicy perks for travelers looking to take advantage of Japan’s tourism reopening, including discounts of 15%-20% on Tigerair flights from Taiwan.
Reinvigorating tourism ties
A rousing taiko drumming performance set the stage for the press event in Taipei, where several prominent figures from Rakuten, Tigerair and the industry gathered to express their optimism for the recovery of Taiwan’s and Japan’s tourism industry.
Chief Representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Hiroyasu Izumi stressed the significance of such a collaboration during these uncertain times.
“The tourism industry and other businesses that rely on travel between Japan and Taiwan are facing tough times due to the pandemic,” he told reporters. “That’s why I think this new offering — a product of collaboration between Taiwan Rakuten Card with its focus on Japan-loving Taiwanese customers; Tigerair Taiwan with its many Japan routes; and VISA — will be so significant for reinvigorating travel and the tourism industry.”
In June 2022, Japan began accepting tourists for the first time in over two years. Taiwanese travelers are eager to finally take their long-postponed Japan trips, but Izumi says they aren’t the only ones excited about the reopening.
“Various surveys have named Japan as the destination Taiwanese travelers want to visit most once travel is possible again, so it’s clear that the pandemic hasn’t affected Japan’s popularity,” he remarked. “At the same time, Japanese governments and people in retail, leisure and hospitality are also expressing a strong desire to see Taiwanese tourists return.”
A pillar of Rakuten’s Taiwan ecosystem
Taiwan Rakuten Card President & CEO Eiji Ishii hopes that the new collaboration will help boost tourism-related business both in Japan and Taiwan.
“As the borders reopen for tourism, I hope we can work with our important partners at Tigerair Taiwan to offer our customers a fantastic card, and contribute to both Taiwan’s and Japan’s tourism industries.”
Cardholders will be able to take advantage of 15%-20% discounts on Tigerair fares between Taiwan and Japan, in addition to discounts and coupons at nearly 10,000 participating stores in Japan and a further 1,000 Japanese brands and stores in Taiwan.
“It has been 15 years since the Rakuten Group started operations in Taiwan, and I take great pride in the fact that Taiwan Rakuten Card has become such an important pillar of the Rakuten Ecosystem.”
It’s back to business for the travel industry
Overseeing Taiwan’s largest low-cost carrier, Tigerair Taiwan chairman Kevin Chen has unique insight into the future of Taiwan’s travel industry.
“Despite the pandemic, we have worked to improve our business wherever we can,” Chen told reporters, outlining the airline’s recent customer outreach efforts, including a popular collaboration that saw a Tigerair jet decorated in the colors of Taiwanese pro-baseball team the Rakuten Monkeys.
“By launching this co-branded card together with Taiwan Rakuten Card, I believe we are sending a message to the world that the travel industry is ready to get back to business,” he proclaimed. “We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone for their first trip coming out of the pandemic.”