June 11, 2013, 4:31 PM

Rakuten moves into Austria

And the Japan-based marketplace firm sets up an e-commerce fund.

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Tokyo-based Rakuten Inc. said this week it has launched launched an e-commerce operation in Austria. The move gives the online marketplace operator a presence in more than 25 countries and territories, Rakuten says.

The launch comes a week after Rakuten CEO and chairman Hiroshi Mikitani announced at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2013 in Chicago that his company had bought Webgistix. The e-commerce fulfillment firm operates five U.S. warehouses.

Including Webgistix, Rakuten has bought nine companies since 2010, it says.

That includes its late 2012 acquisition of Alpha Direct Services, a French company that also sells logistics services to online retailers. Rakuten previously bought U.S.-based Buy.com. In the 2013 edition of the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, Rakuten.com Shopping—that’s the new brand for Buy.com—stands at No. 40. Rakuten is No. 2 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Asia 500. While Buy.com got its start as an online retailer of discounted consumer electronics merchandise, Rakuten is changing its business model so that Rakuten Shopping will be solely a marketplace where other retailers sell products to online shoppers.

Rakuten also says it has created what it calls its Asian Startup Fund, based in Singapore. “The fund, which will target start-ups and entrepreneurial businesses related to e-commerce, Internet services and digital content, will look to support and enable the growth of creative firms in the region,” Rakuten says.

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