Rakuten opens its first European R&D center in Paris
Rakuten is opening a Rakuten Institute of Technology in Paris, which will be the first of its kind in Europe. It already has such R&D centers in Tokyo and New York. The office in Paris will start with five employees and its goal is to ‘fuel the growth of ecommerce around the world’.
The Rakuten Institute of Technology (R.I.T.) in Tokyo has 40 employees in Tokyo and another 10 in New York, so the R.I.T. in Paris will be the smallest of the three. But combined with Rakuten’s Big Data Group that’s facilitated in Paris, it will add a total of 20 new employees to the French office later this year.
Helping online stores with innovations
The people at the R.I.T. focus their research on projects which will support the development and further growth of the global ecommerce industry, as the press release tells us. They are aiming to provide online retailers with innovations so their brands can grow even more, by trying to revolutionize data analytics, fraud detection, language, recommendation engines, image processing, user interfaces and the online to offline transition in ecommerce.
According to Laurent Ach, a specialist in CGI and user interfaces who is appointed as Director of the R.I.T. in Paris, innovation is fundamental when it comes to improving logistics, digital media payments and ecommerce, the areas Rakuten’s business is active. “We want to be the company anticipating future uses for these types of technology. The R.I.T. prides itself on bringing together the best creative thinkers to revolutionise internet retailing and digital business.” The French team will be focusing on the links between bricks-and-mortar stores and online services in particular, but they will also explore new forms of digital interaction.
Rakuten is a Japanese company that is active within Europe with online shopping centre PriceMinister (France), online store Play.com (the United Kingdom) and local sites from Rakuten.com in Germany, Austria and Spain. It also owns video-on-demand service Wuaki.tv which is active in Spain and the UK. It recently acquired messaging app maker Viber for 650 million euros.