Rakuten eyes credit cards in Thailand

Japan's e-commerce giant aims to invest in the Thai credit card business with the introduction of an electronic card payment system next year.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

Rakuten, the world's third-largest e-commerce firm, is eyeing the credit card business in Thailand with a new electronic card payment system next year.

The investment could come about through a joint venture with local commercial banks, an acquisition or co-branding, noted a report Monday by the Bangkok Post.

This follows its 112 million baht (US$3.6 million) investment for a 67 percent stake in Tarad.com, Thailand's biggest e-commerce website, noted the report.

"Thailand is a strategic country in Southeast Asia. We want to expand into the credit card business here," said Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten's chairman and CEO, in the article.

rakuten tarad
Screenshot of Tarad.com, Thailand's largest e-commerce site acquired by Rakuten in 2009 (source: tarad.com)

The company has its own credit card in Japan, which allows users to earn points from purchases.

"E-commerce in Asia-Pacific is expected to continue growing at a strong pace of 50 percent annually compared with 20 percent in the United States and Europe," Mikitani said, adding that the market size of the region will equal or surpass the U.S. within a decade.

Rakuten this year set up its headquarters in Singapore and expanded in Malaysia, with Vietnam and the Philippines its next targets, noted the Bangkok Post.

In July, Rakuten launched an e-book service following the acquisition of e-reader maker Kobo. Earlier in May, it led a US$100 million investment in Pinterest.

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