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Walmart to start promoting e-books, e-readers by Japanese companion

29 January, 2018, 05:44 | Author: Lydia Fleming
  • Walmart Is Bringing the Fight to Amazon's Turf: E-books

The deal "enables us to quickly and efficiently launch a full eBook and audiobook catalog on Walmart.com", Scott Hilton, chief revenue officer for Wal-Mart's USA e-commerce unit, wrote in a blog post Thursday.

"Rakuten is a strong e-commerce business and we're excited to collaborate with the top online shopping destination in Japan", McMillon said.

A tweet from Rakuten said the alignment with Walmart will make a difference in online grocery delivery and e-reading.

Rakuten´s will be available through a smartphone and desktop app.

The collaboration will also allow Walmart to take direct aim at Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle by bringing Rakuten-owned Kobo's e-reader to its US stores, along with a catalog of almost 6 million e-book and audiobook titles to Walmart.com customers.

Noting Rakuten's strengths in e-commerce, McMillon said Walmart looks forward to boosting its grocery footprint in Japan.

Walmart, the U.S. retail giant has announced that it will partner with Rakuten to launch a new online grocery delivery service in Japan.


Ready to get started?

US-based Walmart, the world's largest retailer, said the service will launch in the latter half 2018.

It's not the first time Walmart teams up with a local e-commerce leader in a market it wants to grow in: the company teams up in China with JD.com, and now offers one-hour delivery form 140 stores there. A dedicated Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper fulfilment centre will also be created. Rakuten will completely replace Walmart's existing delivery service for groceries.

But the 21-year-old company has little cachet outside its home market, so CEO Hiroshi Mikitani has made investments overseas, with moves including a $1 billion deal for online coupon service Ebates and a stake in ride-sharing service Lyft.

"It's been a while since we've been active in the USA market", Rakuten Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn said in an interview.

Founded as an online marketplace and now providing ecommerce, fintech, digital content and communications services to more than 1 billion members around the world, the Rakuten Group has more than 14,000 employees, and operations in 29 countries and regions.

In 2002, Walmart acquired a 6.1 percent stake in Seiyu, one of the largest supermarket chains in Japan. Kobo offers almost 6 million titles from thousands of publishers. Rakuten, if you remember, snapped up Canadian Kindle-competitor Kobo in a $315 million deal back in 2011, before rebranding it as Rakuten Kobo a few years later.

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