Japan online giant Rakuten ends Indonesian partnership

Rakuten has terminated its joint venture with Indonesian media conglomerate Global Mediacom, raising the possibility of the end of their Internet shopping mall Rakuten Belanja Online.

Japanese online retailer Rakuten looks to be quitting the Indonesian market after terminating its joint venture (JV) with local media conglomerate Global Mediacom.

This is follows the ending of a similar partnership with Baidu in China last year, noted a report Friday by Daily Social which cited Nikkei News. The report added rumors had been spreading about the break up since last year.

Their site, Rakuten Indonesia, also dubbed Rakuten Belanja Online, started in late 2010, according to the report. The site, similar to the Japanese version, sells goods ranging from electronics to books.

rakuten indonesia
Rakuten's Indonesia site was set up as a JV with conglomerate Global Mediacom.

Last November, the online mall revealed the number of merchants and products offered on its Web site had grown by more than 500 percent within 18 months, noted Japan Daily Press (JDP). The number of merchants started at 60 and rose to around 400, while number of products had risen to more than 300,000, it added.

However, those paled in comparison to the Japanese site's numbers, which had more than 40,000 merchants and 100 million products, according to JDP.

The Indonesian market has also been eyed by China's Internet giant Tencent, which partnered Global Mediacom last October. Both will collaborate on online communication and entertainment products targeting tech-savvy users in Indonesia.

In a statement later to ZDNet, Rakuten said it was optimistic over the Indonesian market but did not deny its partnership breakup.

Toru Shimada, senior executive officer and head of Asia headquarters at Rakuten, said: "From the beginning, we recognized Indonesia's potential to become one of the biggest e-commerce markets in Asia, and our confidence in the market has only increased in the last two years."

With the launch of Rakuten's regional headquarters in Singapore last year, we are now able to accelerate the growth of our businesses around the region and will be increasing our investment in this exciting market, he added.

"We believe that through deepened focus and investment, we'll be well positioned to not only accelerate the value that our B2B2C model and e-commerce platform brings to both empowering merchants and consumers, but also help spur the evolution of the Indonesian e-commerce landscape," noted Shimada.