Rakuten, the Japan-based Internet services company, opened its first European research and development center in Paris today. Called the Rakuten Institute of Technology, this is Rakuten’s third R&D center in the world.
The other two are in Tokyo, with 40 employees, and New York, with 10. Rakuten’s Paris R&D center will combine with its big data group there, adding a total of 20 new employees to its Paris office this year.
The center’s opening comes a week after Rakuten announced that it had acquired messaging app maker Viber for $900 million, as part of a bid to “become the world’s No. 1 Internet services company.”
In a statement, Rakuten said that its Paris R&D center will focus on projects to “support the development of the global e-commerce industry,” including data analytics, fraud detection, recommendation systems, image processing, user interfaces, and “‘the online to offline’ transition in e-commerce.”
Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said in a press release that:
“Our aim globally is to empower retailers and merchants to sell online, and to do this we must keep up with consumers’ browsing and buying habits – online, on mobile, via social and any other channels that they may want to use in their purchase journey. That’s why we’ve increased the size of our global research team, so they can work on bringing the next big thing in e-commerce to market, with our support.”