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Rakuten opens up January 18, 2007

Posted by fukumimi in Internet, IT, Japan.
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Rakuten, the leading Japanese on-line shopping site, is to open up. (PR in Japanese)

It has launched a beta service of what it calls “Rakuten Web Service”, a set of APIs to access the Rakuten database which currently holds more than 10 million items. To start off, it has made 4 APIs available (shop inventory/auction inventory search API, category search API, product code search API and book inventory search API), and is promising to expand its API offerings to cover its DVD, CD, travel and electrical goods inventory by 2007 according to reports.

Finally, it seems the (mainstream) Japanese internet may be about to embrace a more open model.

The strategy would seem to fit well with Rakuten’s stated plans of going global. It may find it is easier to expand by linking up with local partners who can use the database but may need to provide different logistics and payment mechanisms and the like.

Comments»

1. ¥·¥ç¥Ã¥×¥¸¥ã¥Ñ¥ó¥Õ¥¡¥ó¡ªShopJapan - January 20, 2007

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2. Gen Kanai - January 22, 2007

Very interesting. A little late to the game but better late than never.

3. fukumimi - January 22, 2007

I wasn’t going to bring this up and name names, but Rakuten’s strategy is in contrast to a plan by drop shipping company Real Communications (http://www.realcoms.co.jp/) which calls for an “Open databse agreement” which in fact appears more like an attempt at _closed_ agreements.
(Real Communications CEO blog post http://blog.livedoor.jp/panda2002/archives/50138962.html)

The giveaway is the comparison to Free Trade Agreements, and the discussion of parties not subject to such agreements being subject to trade barriers thus making parties to any such agreements more competitive within the agreement environment.

Hopefully Rakuten’s lead will force others (livedoor, DeNA, etc) to follow and kill bilateral/oligopolistic frameworks before they have a chance to take root.


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