Rakuten opens research centre in S'pore

Rakuten, a leading Internet firm based in Japan, has opened a research centre here, as well as one in the United States.

The two branches of the Rakuten Institute of Technology will support the company's research and development efforts. Established on July 1, they will focus on different areas of study, and work together with local universities and research institutes to recruit overseas researchers.

At the Singapore branch, located at One George Street in Raffles Place, the focus will be on psychology, behavioural science and mobile and social innovations.

It will research Internet services that increase user satisfaction, based on the areas of study mentioned. The findings will be used by Rakuten to improve its services.

Dr Ewa Szymanska, an expert in psychology and mobile and social innovations, will lead the Singapore research team.

At the Rakuten Institute of Technology Singapore, located at One George Street in Raffles Place, the focus will be on psychology, behavioural science and mobile and social innovations.

Initiatives by the Rakuten Institute of Technology Singapore include the Rakuten-Viki Global TV Recommender Challenge, which was launched on Wednesday.

The challenge requires data scientists in Asia to solve a problem using data from Viki, a video streaming service provider acquired by Rakuten.

The Rakuten Institute of Technology Boston will be led by Dr Ankur Datta. Researchers there will focus on the study of artificial intelligence. They will also collaborate with big-data teams globally to advance related applications.

The addition of the Boston and Singapore research centres will bring the total number of Rakuten Institute of Technology branches to five globally. The other three branches are in New York, Paris and Tokyo.

At the Rakuten Institute of Technology Singapore, located at One George Street in Raffles Place, the focus will be on psychology, behavioural science and mobile and social innovations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2015, with the headline 'Rakuten opens research centre in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe