Japan's Rakuten to close Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia online marketplaces

Rakuten's Singapore website on Feb 13 with a notice on top saying the marketplace will no longer be available for new purchases after March 1.
Rakuten's Singapore website on Feb 13 with a notice on top saying the marketplace will no longer be available for new purchases after March 1.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM RAKUTEN.COM.SG

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc plans to close its early model e-commerce marketplaces in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia as part of the company's strategy overhaul.

The closure of the three markets will affect fewer than 150 employees in the region, Rakuten said in an email. "In SE Asia, as the market itself changes and adapts, we are looking toward C2C (customer to customer) and mobile business models for e-commerce and other businesses," Rakuten said.

Rakuten's e-commerce in the region currently operates under the B2B2C model, or business-to-business-to-consumer, which combines business-to-business and business-to-consumer models.

Rakuten announced that its strategy would include introducing C2C mobile services across the globe.

In Southeast Asia, Rakuten competes with the likes of Rocket Internet SE's Lazada in the ecommerce segment.

Rakuten will maintain its regional Asian headquarters in Singapore and continue to operate other businesses in the region, including Rakuten Travel, Viber, Kobo, Rakuten Institute of Technology and Rakuten Ventures, while looking for new opportunities for growth in Southeast Asia, the company said.