Japanese Rakuten has decided to close several of its European online marketplaces, namely England and Spain. It will now focus on its German and French activities.
Investments proved too large
Rakuten felt it had to invest too much in England and Spain in relation to the size of the local market. In Germany and France on the contrary, it sees much more potential for growth. It will also shut down its Austrian marketplace, but those customers will now be diverted to the German website. The entire process should be finalized by the end of August.
The decision is remarkable to say the least, because Rakuten had been building a strong position in Europe for the past few years. It even acquired British Play.com and even changed its name into Rakuten.co.uk.
However, Rakuten is not only going through a restructuring phase in Europe. It is doing the same in Asia, where it withdrew from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. For South Korea, it entered a collaboration with eBay.