Three years after launching in Indonesia, Rakuten’s Indonesia arm has experienced rapid growth due mostly to the growing preference of Indonesians for online shopping and e-commerce. The Japanese online shopping giant entered the Indonesian market in 2010, setting up a joint venture company with the MNC Group called PT Rakuten-MNC. That eventually birthed Rakuten Belanja Online (RBO), one of the fastest growing ventures of Rakuten in the global market today.
In fact, Mark Kirschner, deputy marketing officer of Rakuten Inc., said that the company’s online shopping market in Indonesia was the group’s “fastest growing arm worldwide”. “All the other figures, including gross merchandise sales and visitor traffic, have been very positive as well,” he said. Kirschner revealed that RBO’s gross merchandise sales had grown by 115 percent throughout the first quarters of 2012-2013. And while RBO’s standard web portal (via a desktop web browser) is still the go-to for Indonesians who want to shop via RBO – as evidenced in the number of visits to it still three times more than the mobile site – the number of orders made through mobile devices have risen significantly by 438 percent in the last 2 years. Kirschner said that RBO is looking to ramp up its business in the next few years. “We now have around 500 merchants,” he said, alluding to the fact that the Indonesian merchant growth rate is even better than in its mature markets, such as the United States and the United Kingdom.
Indonesia’s economic acceleration has helped a lot in this growth, Kirschner said, and Rakuten is looking to give RBO a boost by making other markets available through Rakuten’s border-less platform, recently launched in June. Because of this system, merchants at RBO are now able to connect to the Rakuten global platform, granting local RBO merchants access to international markets. “Having one platform makes cross-border buying and selling much easier,” he said. This new border-less system was heavily influenced by the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact brought forward by the US which aims to liberalize trade and services among member countries. Japan is already an incoming member while Indonesia is still mulling on whether to enter TPP discussions. Kirschner said that to realize borderless business opportunities such as those available through e-commerce, the Japanese government should be willing to take down trade barriers and heavy tariffs. “The government must strike a balance between protecting customers but, at the same time, participating in the global economy,” he said.
[via Jakarta Post]