Mickey’s Voice

Insights from our CEO

  • We launched the Rakuten marketplace 20 years ago and since then I’ve seen many competitors woo consumers with an approach that bears more similarity to an online vending machine – an experience based solely on price, speed and convenience.

    E-commerce as a catalyst: New and old retail principles

    An e-commerce site is not just a neatly organized catalog of products; it can be a catalyst for engaging and enriching shopping experiences. We launched the Rakuten marketplace 20 years ago and since then I’ve seen some competitors woo consumers with an approach that bears more similarity to an online vending machine – an experience based solely on price, speed and convenience. Certainly, those ar…

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  • Make your conversations more meaningful by choosing what stays and what goes. Secret messages give you the ability to decide when the photos and videos you send will disappear from your conversation and, in doing so, let you decide what should and shouldn’t be a permanent part of your Viber conversation history.​

    0.1% improvements: Don’t be afraid to innovate

    Our free voice and messaging service Viber is much-loved by more than 800 million users around the world and, since acquisition in 2014, we have been more focused on growth than on profitability, but in recent months we have made some changes. We decided to set in motion a series of big and small improvements, including hiring a new CEO and finding ways to increase revenue, not just on the telecom…

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  • AI work

    Work in the age of AI

    I recently heard some interesting news about perfect pitch. People used to think that only small children were able to acquire perfect pitch through training. But new research has shown that with AI-based training, even adults can achieve it. In other words, computers are now encroaching on something once thought to be the exclusive domain of human “talent.” So, could computers make music? I’d say…

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  • Mickey Mikitani is excited about e-commerce in Japan.

    Why I’m excited about e-commerce in Japan

    Japan’s e-commerce scene is lively, dynamic and enjoying double-digit growth. While Rakuten continues to enjoy the largest market share among major players with over 25% of e-commerce transactions*, consumers are benefiting from healthy competition among platforms and retailers. Years ago many thought that nobody would bother with online shopping in such a dense and sophisticated brick-and-mortar…

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  • The FC Barcelona Rakuten partnership will officially begin in 2017.

    Why we’re partnering with FC Barcelona

    Rakuten has finalized an agreement to become the Main Global Partner of the world-famous Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona (a.k.a. Barca). The partnership kicks off with the 2017-2018 season and continues for four years. The agreement is unique. Rakuten will not just be a sponsor of the club, but its Main Global Partner and its first Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner. It’s a true partners…

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  • Rakuten response to U.S. Executive Order on immigration

    As investors and employers in the United States and admirers of American values and its history of openness and innovation, the executive team at Rakuten and our group companies find the United States Executive Order issued last week to exclude people based on their nationality or religion extremely disappointing. As Rakuten has matured over its first twenty years, we have become aware of the resp…

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  • People visit Atago Shrine in Tokyo to offer traditional prayers for the New Year.

    Mickey’s 2017 New Year greetings

    Happy New Year, everyone! 2017 will be a very important year for all of Rakuten Group because it is the 20th anniversary of our founding. As you know, we started Rakuten in 1997, envisioning that we would become one of the most important and influential information service companies in the world. We’ve grown from just 6 people, to a company of more than 14,000 people around the world, and we’re fa…

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  • Rakuten to become FC Barcelona Main Global Partner

    In sport, it takes guts to win! Innovation is no different. Any team or organization that aspires to greatness will face countless challenges along the way. With the right vision, leadership, hard work and skill, however, any obstacle can be overcome. Sports and business have so many things in common – teamwork, leadership, hard work, ambition, humility, respect and risk, just to name a few. Sport…

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  • Teaching is timeless

    Too often we assume teaching begins and ends in the classroom. But teaching is a job we all must embrace, even after we enter the business world. Great leaders must also be great teachers. Whether you lead a company or a department or a team, teaching must be part of your job. These are some ways we can all be teachers: Encourage exploration Just as we want teachers to encourage students to explor…

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  • Mickey speaks at the Forbes Japan CEO of The Year event, where he was recognized because Rakuten was the highest-ranking Japanese company in the Forbes Most Innovative Companies of 2016 list.

    Rakuten, the global innovator

    In August, we were proud to be named as one of Forbes magazine’s Most Innovative Companies of 2016. This year we improved our rank from 19th to 17th and, as with last year, we were the highest-ranked Japanese company. I say I was “proud” to be on the list, and not “surprised,” because innovation has been at the core of our company culture from our earliest days. From the day I envisioned our firm…

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