Walmart Partners With Rakuten

Walmart and Rakuten, an e-commerce and Internet services company based in Tokyo, have formed a new strategic alliance, which the companies said leverages each of their strengths and assets to expand consumer reach and enhance how customers are served in the U.S. and Japan.

The collaboration includes the launch of a new online grocery delivery service in Japan beginning in the third quarter of 2018. In addition, Walmart and Rakuten Kobo Inc. have formed an exclusive retail alliance that will enable Walmart to begin selling eBooks and audiobooks, as well as offer Rakuten Kobo eReaders, in Walmart stores and online at in the U.S. starting later this year.

Rakuten and Seiyu GK, a retail subsidiary of Walmart, have reached a basic agreement to establish a joint venture with the aim of launching the new online grocery delivery service in Japan, to be known as “Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper.” The new service will be launched in the latter half of 2018. The service will aim to increase capacity in 2018 with the establishment of a dedicated fulfillment center, in addition to offering deliveries from Seiyu stores. The new service will also utilize Rakuten’s expertise in e-commerce to offer a site with an optimized and personalized user experience.

“Rakuten is a strong e-commerce business and we’re excited to collaborate with the top online shopping destination in Japan,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Walmart. “Here in Japan and everywhere we operate, we’re constantly exploring new ways to make every day easier for customers by offering great experiences in stores, online, via mobile— no matter how customers want to shop. We look forward to expanding our grocery footprint in Japan and launching a new offering of eBooks and audiobooks for our customers in the U.S.”