There can be no doubt that with a US$15 billion market cap, 75 million user accounts in Japan alone, and over 10,000 employees worldwide, the 800-pound gorilla in Japan’s e-commerce sector is Rakuten.
Amazon Japan however, launched as early as 2000 (3 years later than Rakuten) continues to be a formidable opponent for the country’s homegrown B2B2C platform. (On Rakuten’s market place, almost all sales go through one of the 38,000 merchants, not through Rakuten itself.)
In a recent interview with business daily The Nikkei, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos laid out his plans regarding the Japanese market.
Here are the key points:
- Bezos says he wants sales in Japan to grow at least 30% per year going forward. (see below)
- The plan going forward is to boost the number of items in the fashion and food categories on the site in particular.
- Same-day delivery is a key selling point for Amazon Japan. The company wants to add distribution centers in the Western part of the country to its nine existing facilities.
- Amazon’s cloud services are doing very well in Japan, according to Bezos. He says his company will add data centers to meet the increasing demand in the country.
- Bezos also said that an announcement regarding the Kindle, recently rumored to hit Japan in April, will be coming “later this year”. He said his company is planning to launch a service that will make it possible for users to consume content on smartphones and the Kindle “seamlessly”.
The Nikkei estimates that Amazon’s Japanese subsidiary generates sales worth 500 billion yen (US$6.1 billion) in Japan. (Note: Amazon’s global revenue reached US$48 billion in 2011).
Here’s my short case study comparing Amazon Japan with Rakuten from 2009 on TechCrunch.
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