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New teaching case addresses the internationalisation difficulties of global marketplaces

The e-commerce company Rakuten has grown into a giant online player in trade and services.
Kuvassa näkyy professori Arto Lindblom. Kuvan otti Susanna Rosin.
Our teaching case demonstrates the key operating principles for global marketplaces and the content of their business models, Professor Arto Lindblom says. Photo: Susanna Rosin / Aalto University.

Arto Lindblom, Professor of Marketing at the Aalto University School of Business, and Professor Naoto Nadayama (Kanagawa University) worked together to write a teaching case about the internationalisation difficulties of global marketplaces. Ivey Publishing, a distinguished publisher, published the teaching case in February 2020.

The teaching case examines Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce company and a pioneer of platform economy. Rakuten, established in Tokyo in 1997, has expanded rapidly to different sectors and markets. Today, it is a global, ever-growing ecosystem that provides e-commerce, tourism, insurance, banking and entertainment services to more than one billion consumers worldwide. Rakuten is often compared to Amazon as a multifaceted influencer of platform economy that knows how to utilise digitalisation and large masses of data to enable its growth.
 

Surprising difficulties in Europe

Despite Rakuten gaining an exceptionally strong position in Japan and, to some extent, in other markets, the company has faced great difficulties in Europe. Many expected Rakuten to rapidly grow into one of Europe's leading marketplaces due to its massive corporate acquisitions, but this was not the case. The teaching case written by Nadayama and Lindblom aims to explain these difficulties Rakuten faced in Europe. Their review focuses particularly on the expansion of Rakuten to Great Britain in 2011 and the problems the company encountered there.

‘It is actually surprising how difficult conquering Europe has proved to be for Rakuten, a global giant that represents new digital commerce logic. In our teaching case, we challenge students and business managers to consider the causes of these issues and, on the other hand, to find ways to solve them. The case also demonstrates the key operating principles for global marketplaces and the content of their business models’, says Professor Arto Lindblom.

The teaching case is aimed at both students and business managers, and it is well suited as part of the study modules of marketing, international business and management.

Ivey Publishing publishes more than 350 teaching cases annually, and it has already published over 8 000 cases in its list. Like Harvard Business School, it is one of the world's largest producers and publishers of cases.

More information:

Professor Arto Lindblom
Aalto University School of Business, Department of Marketing
[email protected]

Reference:

Naoto Nadayama & Arto Lindblom (2020). Rakuten: To stay or not to stay in the UK? Ivey Publishing. Product Number: 9B20M022. https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=108332

https://www.iveycases.com

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