Rakuten Acquires 18% Stake in AirAsia To Expand Its Rakuten Travel Service.
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has recently revealed some grand plans on enhancing their travel business which is currently offering hotels bookings only, but instead of just signing the deals with third-part companies to provide flight services, it’s now making its way though the airline business.
Rakuten recently announced that it’s purchasing over 18% stake within Air Asia Japan, a new low-cost carrier set to be launched within the country by AirAsia. The company hasn’t disclosed on how much the investment is worth, but AirAsia Japan does plan to raise a total financial amount of JYP 7 billion ($69 million).
AirAsia has been at the forefront of the sector, having been named by Skytrax  as the World’s Best Low Cost Airline for 5 years running, beginning in 2009. AirAsia itself operates 208 routes in over 18 countries throughout Asia and Australia, and has carried around 220 million passengers to date.
From this recent deal, Rakuten is hoping to boost its traveling offers under Rakuten Travel, which currently claims 29,250 members hotels and 17 offices within Japan, as well as 20 more offices across 12 overseas markets. The company also revealed that it’s targeting to develop its busienss as a travel provider for Southeast Asia.
Rakueten has been aggressively expanding themselves towards other services as it seeks out to “become the number one global internet service company”. It’s manage to acquire quite the variety of companies in its bid to create an internet ecosystem for all of its user all over the world, including messaging app Viber, Tablet maker Kobo, and global video site Viki.