Japanese membership-based Internet services company Rakuten, has announced the opening of its new Global Development and Operations Center in Bangalore, called The Rakuten India Development and Operations Center (RIDOC), in collaboration with PROLIM Global Corporation, an IT consulting services company.
The Indian operations are being launched, it appears, with a Build-Operate-Transfer framework, which the company says “will help retain personnel, increase the knowledge-base and give partner staff more opportunities to support other Rakuten Group companies and projects around the world.” Rakuten has other development centers in China (Beijing), the U.S. (San Francisco) and Singapore.
The RIDOC is currently focused on infrastructure operations processes and resources, and work has begun on developing talent in infrastructure automation, software development and quality assurance. The RIDOC operates out of the World Trade Center in Bangalore, which, as we mentioned earlier, is a bit of a privacy nightmare.
There were reports a few months ago that Rakuten is also eyeing acquisitions in India. Rakuten’s travel booking services facilitate 1.8 million room nights in bookings per month, with access to more than 20,000 domestic and 15,000 international hotels. It also has a presence in South Korea and China. Rakuten had recently acquiredinternet telephony and messaging company Viber, for $900 million.
The company had also launched its eBook reader Kobo in India, last year in partnership with Crossword bookstores, WHSmith and Croma chain of electronic stores.
Financials: Rakuten reported revenues of $5.09 billion and net profit of $427 million for 2013, with more than half of the revenue coming from its Internet finance business. The company has 90 million users for its services in Japan and 60 million around the world, of which 18 million are users of the Canadian e-reader Kobo (which it acquired in 2012).
The company had reported revenues of $86.65 million from its travel business in Q4 2013 and $339 million annually. It had also reported an operating income of $34.72 million for the last quarter of 2013 and $127 million for the whole year. Overall, Rakuten reported a 15.2% year-on-year increase in gross transaction value from the travels business in 2013.