Rakuten quits Thailand
Rakuten Tarad.com founder and MD Pawoot Pongvitayapanu has told the Bangkok Post the deal is expected to be sealed within a few days. Rakuten has a 67 per cent stake in Tarad.com since acquiring it in 2009 for US$35 million, and Pongvitayapanu holds the balance.
Rakuten’s move follows a strategic overhaul of its business in Southeast Asia, Deal Street Asia reports. It had previously focused on business-to-business and business-to-consumer models, but now plans a shift to consumer-to-consumer (C2C) by launching a mobile app, Rakuma.
Shopee, which already has a foothold in Thailand, is one of the main competitors for C2C apps in the region, along with Carousell.
Tarad.com had an accumulated loss of 117 million baht ($3.2 million) in 2013, rising from losses of 35 million baht in 2010 and 5.6 million baht in 2009. Pongvitayapanu says business will continue business as usual as it prepares to implement a strategic shift following the new shareholding structure.