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Walmart, Rakuten to launch online grocery delivery service in Japan

Published 29 January 2018

Walmart and Rakuten have partnered to launch a new online grocery delivery service in Japan starting in the third quarter of 2018.

The companies also plan to launch new eBooks and audiobooks offering in the U.S.

The Japanese online grocery business will be conducted as a joint venture between Rakuten and Walmart’s subsidiary Seiyu GK. It will be known as Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper.

Rakuten and Seiyu will use their strengths to offer a convenient shopping experience that meets the varying requirements of customers in Japan.

The joint venture is aimed at increasing fulfillment capacity and to enrich merchandise offering and to improve convenience for its customers.

Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said: “Rakuten is a strong e-commerce business and we’re excited to collaborate with the top online shopping destination in Japan.

“Here in Japan and everywhere we operate, we’re constantly exploring new ways to make every day easier for customers by offering great experiences in stores, online, via mobile—no matter how customers want to shop. We look forward to expanding our grocery footprint in Japan and launching a new offering of eBooks and audiobooks for our customers in the US.”

Walmart and Rakuten have also formed an exclusive retail alliance for Kobo brand in the US. This will enable Walmart to start selling eBooks and audiobooks along with offering Rakuten Kobo eReaders, in its stores and online at Walmart.com in the US later this year.

It will offer Kobo’s nearly six million titles from thousands of publishers and hundreds of thousands of authors to Walmart.com’s customers. It will also offer eBooks and audiobooks for sale later this year.

Walmart will also sell digital book cards in stores, enabling more than 4,000 stores to carry a broader selection of books for customers.

All eBook content will be accessible through a Walmart/Kobo co-branded app available on all iOS and Android devices, a desktop app and Kobo e-Readers, which will also be sold at Walmart later this year.

Rakuten chairman, president and CEO Hiroshi said: “Mickey” Mikitani said: “As global leaders in e-commerce and offline shopping, Rakuten and Walmart are uniquely positioned to empower our customers around the world with innovative services.

“We are excited to partner with Walmart because of its commitment to creating the best solutions to serve customers with low prices.”  

Image: Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. Photo: Courtesy of Rakuten, Inc.