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Jakarta Post

Rakuten develops special mobile app for RI customers

  • Grace D. Amianti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, December 20, 2014   /  10:55 am

PT Rakuten Belanja Online, the local unit of leading Japanese e-commerce player Rakuten Inc., plans to introduce its new mobile phone application early next year as part of its long-term strategy to tap into Indonesia'€™s growing online shopping market.

Rakuten Belanja Online director Yasunobu Hashimoto said the beta version of the app, especially developed for Indonesian customers, could be downloaded from online app stores for smartphones and gadgets with Android and iOS operating systems.

The company, which is the world'€™s largest e-commerce player, created the app based on 2014 research that predicted around 25 percent of Indonesian consumers would utilize mobile gadgets for online shopping, Hashimoto said.

The research, conducted by leading global research agency Millward Brown, showed that Indonesians aged between 16 and 44 spent half of their waking time using gadgets '€” which also prompted high growth in mobile commerce.

As of the first quarter of this year, Rakuten Indonesia had posted a huge 546.8 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) increase in page views on mobile phones, as well as 587.1 percent increase in mobile phone-based bookings.

'€œThe trend will continue; we predict a lot more retailers will invest in mobile marketing next year to join the fast growth in mobile commerce,'€ Hashimoto said Friday.

Hashimoto said that sales of mobile gadgets of various brands had risen sharply in Indonesia thanks to improvements in the telecommunications industry.

The introduction of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) by several Indonesian cellular operators early next year would help answer the need for high-speed broadband, also boosting the growth of e-commerce.

The company posted triple digit y-o-y increases in three popular items this year, with 647 percent growth in baby and mom-related items, while food and beverages, and beauty cosmetics, grew by 469 percent and 365 percent respectively.

Hashimoto declined to mention the company'€™s total sales targets for next year, even though it would maintain its triple-digit increase above the e-commerce industry'€™s annual business growth in Indonesia of 45.1 percent at the end of this year.

Rakuten Belanja Online marketing manager Franky Hoetomo said the company also planned to increase its registered merchants, as well as improve the business relationship with them.

The company offers memberships to merchants to sell their products as a new way of marketing. Hashimoto added that Rakuten offered a borderless and global platform for local merchants to gain wider access to international markets.

The company recruited significant numbers of merchants in several large cities across the country last year and this year, including in Surabaya in East Java, Yogyakarta in Central Java, Medan in North Sumatra and Bandung in West Java, Franky said.

'€œNext year, we will focus our merchant recruitments in Java. We have seen that the potential merchant growth is higher in regions outside Jakarta. So, we want to offer them our initiatives to provide wider opportunities to grow their businesses,'€ he said.

According to Hashimoto, as many as 600 premium merchants and 375 beginner merchants are registered with the company currently.

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