On Thursday, Walmart (NYSE: WMT) announced plans to partner with e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc. to launch an online grocery delivery service in Japan, expected to be completed towards the end of the year. This deal marks Walmart’s determined efforts to break into the competitive market as they try to grow their international business. This service will replace Walmart’s existing online grocery delivery in Japan and will be called “Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper”. Shoppers can place an order on the online marketplace platform which will then be fulfilled by a warehouse and Walmart’s wholly owned Japanese unit, Seiyu GK.
Recently, Rakuten has expanded their overseas operations to the U.S. and Europe and is looking to become Japan’s fourth major wireless carrier by attracting users to their variety of services. The company’s shares closed up 4.5%. This partnership will also allow Walmart to sell 6 million e-books and audiobooks offered by Rakuten’s Kobo brand in the U.S. Titles will include fan favorites including New York Times best sellers and children’s books.
“Rakuten is a strong e-commerce business and we’re excited to collaborate with the top online shopping destination in Japan,” president and CEO Doug McMillon said. “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.”