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Rakuten plans Australian mall

Japanese internet retailer Rakuten is planning to open new online stores in Australia and India.

The move is part of a broader strategy of offshore expansion to counter a downturn in the domestic economy. 

The company says it plans to set up online shopping malls in India and Australia in line with its goal to make overseas sales account for 70 per cent of its total sales by 2020.

CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said the company is also looking for opportunities to expand into southeast Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe.

Mikitani says the company aims to more than double the number of countries it operates in online – from 13 now to 27. 

“We will adjust our strategy depending on the situation and maturity of the market,” he said.

Rakuten, whose businesses include e-commerce, e-reading, travel, banking and e-money, has been expanding globally throughout Asia, Europe and Americas through investments and acquiring stakes in existing businesses.

In May this year, it led a US$100 million investment in Pinterest.

It also purchased a share of bookseller Kobo and US online shopping site Daily Grommet.

Tokyo-headquartered Rakuten, which holds a 3.5 per cent share of the global online retail market is ranked third behind Amazon with 12 per cent share and Apple with 3.9 per cent according to Euromonitor data.

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