Rakuten buys mobile messaging company Viber for $900 million

Shrikar Khare Posted On - March 26, 2014

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Rakuten is a big e-Commerce company in Japan with global ambitions. As per it’s claims it happens to be the world’s third largest e-commerce marketplace, next after Alibaba and eBay. Recently it has expanded its digital strategy and paid $900 million in cash to acquire Viber, a global messaging company.

The Significance

By taking over Viber, a Cyprus-based voice-call application company Rakuten has paced into the world of global messaging for the first time. It is vitally important for Rakuten, not only for it is a totally new area for them but also for the reason that it will empower them with the technology which will make the customers able to make Internet calls on a range of devices such as smartphones.

In the modern and changing atmosphere of today’s world people constantly tend to shift from traditional communications platforms to comparatively a newer technology which is mobile applications. Viber, has an important standing in this regard. It is the most popular mobile communications services all over the world. Everyday it’s number of users are still increasing in a rapid rate which already has a record of 300 million registered users.  Hence it is considered to be the right choice for Rakuten which will perhaps successfully complements Rakuten’s strategy in the digital space. Rakuten, no doubt is aiming to become the world’s top most Internet services company in a near future. This acquisition will help Rakuten to penetrate new markets with multiple digital content opportunities, in addition to its exiting e-commerce and financial services platforms.

International aspect

It has added a new feather on Rakuten’s hat as it enables the company to mark their footprint in the international market. Henceforth it will be positioned on the same rank of Viber which used to operate in almost 200 countries, and was crowned the only messaging player with a globally significant presence besides WhatsApp.  The rest of the companies though big in size, are not global players, they only act regionally, such as Japan’s popular Line or Korea’s KakaoTalk.

Rakuten, widely known as a huge e-commerce business, has been formulating its strategies to target diversification in various levels. It has already purchased e-book reader Kobo and invested in Pinterest including Wuaki. tv. And very recently they have also purchased Viki, the premium video service.  There are other areas also where Rakuten has engraved it presence. The company owns an Internet bank, a travel service and even a baseball team.  Now, Viber being a voice oriented organization is also focusing on claiming the Internet communications business from Microsoft-owned Skype.

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