Walmart has invested $153 million for a 0.9% stake in Japanese tech giant Rakuten in an effort to boost its presence in Japan and globally. Rakuten operates more than 70 technology businesses, including the Rakuten Ichiba e-commerce site, Kobo e-book platform, and Rakuten TV video streaming service.
In a post on Walmart’s corporate website, the retailer said the investment is in line with other recent strategic equity investments the company has made that enable Walmart to benefit from future growth in a rapidly changing global retail environment.
Walmart first began collaborating with Rakuten in 2018. The company’s joint ventures include opening a store on the Rakuten Ichiba digital shopping mall, offering U.S.-branded products fulfilled directly from the U.S.
In November 2020, Rakuten took a 20% stake in Japanese grocer Seiyu, as Walmart sold 85% of that Japanese business. Walmart said it would keep a small investment in Seiyu and work with the new ownership to support that retailer’s omnichannel transformation.
The Walmart investment in Rakuten is part of a $2.2 billion capital campaign by the tech/ commerce giant to better compete with Amazon, Facebook and Google around the world.