Viber is launching Viber Communities, group chats for up to 1B users

Messaging apps have seen a surge of popularity in recent years as people seek ways to communicate more directly than on social networks. But they also have been adding large group chat options into th

Rakuten will roll its $9B loyalty program into a new blockchain-based cryptocurrency, Rakuten Coin

Messaging apps have seen a surge of popularity in recent years as people seek ways to communicate more directly than on social networks. But they also have been adding large group chat options into th

Walmart and Rakuten partner on grocery delivery in Japan, Kobo e-books and audiobooks in U.S.

Walmart today announced a major expansion in terms of its global e-commerce presence: the retailer is entering a strategic partnership with Tokyo-based Rakuten, which will see the companies collaborat

Techstars is launching its first accelerator program in Asia in partnership with Rakuten

Techstars is bringing its global accelerator program to Asia for the first time in partnership with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten and its chat app Viber. The companies will run a three-month progr

Amazon launches its Echo devices and Alexa in Japan

Amazon has continued its hardware push into Asia after it launched the Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot in Japan today. Alongside the hardware, it is also making its Alexa voice assistant available in th

ShopBack raises $25M for its cash back shopping service in Southeast Asia

One of Southeast Asia’s lesser-known startups has come out from under the radar today after ShopBack, a cash back-focused e-commerce service, announced it has raised $25 million. Founded in 2014

The most monocle-dropping tech acquisitions of the past five years

This is a list of tech deals from the past half decade that were surprising because of their size, impact or seeming randomness. Some have paid off, while others (cough*Microsoft-Nokia*cough) remain 

Kobo takes on Audible with its own audiobook subscription service

Kobo’s never had an issue taking on the bigwigs. It’s outlasted bigger names like Sony and Barnes & Noble in the devoted e-reader space, and now it’s ready to take a swipe at Audible’s

Viber acquires Chatter Commerce, the startup behind its shopping keyboard

Messaging app Viber earlier this year made its first foray into shopping services with Instant Shopping, a feature that lets you search for items for sale via a keyboard when you have the messaging a

Uber rival Careem closes $500M raise at $1B+ valuation as Daimler steps in

Amid ongoing struggles at Uber, one of its stronger regional rivals in transportation on demand has raised a significant round of funding, picking up a significant strategic investor in the process. C

Rakuten invests $2.8M in ‘Airbnb for business travel’ startup MetroResidences

Rakuten is getting into the Airbnb for business sector after it invested SG$4 million ($2.8 million) in Singapore-based MetroResidences. MetroResidences was founded in 2014 by James Chua and Lester

Blackstorm Labs and Rakuten launch R Games to build high-fidelity HTML5 games

Blackstorm Labs, a startup that's working to build technology that brings developers tools to get out games and apps more quickly through HTML5, today said it is working with Rakuten to build a new en

AirMap raises $26 million to manage air traffic as drone use surges

Lower airspace isn’t crowded with drones quite yet. But as drones become more pervasive, a startup called AirMap is building software and systems to help drone operators fly only where it’s safe a

Uber’s Middle Eastern rival Careem raises $350M at a $1B valuation

2016 is almost out but there's just time to anoint one more ride-sharing unicorn. Careem, one of Uber's lower profile rivals in emerging markets, has taken a step into the global limelight today after

Rakuten will reportedly launch a mobile games platform

Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant, is preparing to enter the mobile games space soon, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Rakuten buys struggling bitcoin startup Bitnet to create a ‘blockchain research lab’

Rakuten has confirmed that it has acquired the assets of Bitnet, a bitcoin wallet startup it invested in, which will be used to create a 'bitcoin lab' for the Japanese retail giant.

Japan’s e-commerce leader Rakuten gets into agriculture tech

Rakuten may be cutting back its e-commerce business in Europe and Southeast Asia, but, at home in Japan, the internet giant is stepping into a new field -- quite literally -- after it invested in an a

Rakuten to exit the UK, Austria and Spain as global retrenchment continues

Rakuten is downsizing its international presence once again after Japan's top e-commerce firm announced plans to shutter its e-commerce businesses in the UK, Spain and Austria.

Remittance startup Azimo raises $15M from Viber owner, e-commerce giant Rakuten

Azimo was once in talks to be acquired by WhatsApp and Messenger owner Facebook. And while may not have gone anywhere, today it is announcing funding from another big tech company in possession

Fore: Rakuten’s delivery drones take to the golf course

Last month we reported that Rakuten is testing drone deliveries at a golf course in Japan, and now the company has released more information and video footage of how the system will work.
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