Tokyo, JP |

Akamai Japan K.K., a subsidiary of Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leader in powering video, dynamic transactions and enterprise applications online, today announced that its Dynamic Site Solution has been adopted by Rakuten Ichiba, one of the largest Internet shopping portals operated by Rakuten Inc. in Japan, to accelerate the performance of its eCommerce site. Rakuten Ichiba is also leveraging Akamai to help extend its infrastructure by offloading a large amount of its web content to the Akamai globally-distributed network.

Rakuten is one of the leading online shopping portals in Japan, having a membership of around 30,000 retail stores online. Besides the eCommerce portal, the company is also operating several online businesses, including Rakuten Travel, a well-known travel arrangements service, Rakuten Books, an online bookstore, Rakuten KC, a credit card and financing service, and e-BANK, an online banking service. Rakuten Ichiba operates under a system in which each retail store creates their own setup on Rakuten’s web site, and each retail store maintains and constructs their own unique homepage in order to sell their products. These homepages use a large number of images to display and showcase their products, and there is also an emerging demand for adding rich, video content to these homepages to engage shoppers and better demonstrate their product features. With each retail store using a wide variety of images and video content to create an attractive shopping site, an enormous amount of web content was stored on the Rakuten Ichiba servers.

As a result, Rakuten needed a solution that could meet its growing server needs. It has become a pressing issue for Rakuten to find a low cost and convenient method for offering highly scalable and reliable customer services without having to make enormous investments in space and time to expand its own infrastructure. Leveraging Akamai, Rakuten provides improved server capacity for storing web content and improved reliability and security of client web sites while lowering the cost of system operations. Rakuten can also accelerate distribution of their content globally online without having to deploy new hardware.

Mr. Osamu Kurokouchi, Group Manager of Network Development and Operation, Rakuten, commented, “As online shopping continues to grow and gain popularity in Japan, our customers are looking for ways to improve their use of images and rich media content such as videos on their sites that help engage shoppers and better describe their products’ features. We need to renew and augment our servers several times a year in response to such increasing customer needs. However, as it is important for Rakuten to preserve a good balance between IT costs and business scale, the expansion of server infrastructure was a big strain on our business, especially considering that the volume of transactions on Rakuten Ichiba can expand dramatically. Therefore, we evaluated different services and eventually turned to Akamai for help.”

“With Akamai in place, we can spend less money and effort on infrastructure related tasks. It enables us to re-direct our resources to eCommerce development activities that improve our online shopping experience and increase our sales, allowing us to offer more stable, high-quality online customer services to our customers. Since switching to the Akamai services, we have experienced no problems at all.”

Rakuten is continuously seeking to expand its online business globally into new markets such as Thailand and Europe. In order to support this aggressive initiative, Rakuten needs a solution to help reach its customers effectively and an infrastructure that can scale to meet increasing demand and support unpredictable traffic spikes. Currently, Akamai is powering the eCommerce sites for Rakuten Ichiba in Japan as well as Rakuten Ichiba Taiwan (http://www.rakuten.com.tw/). With Akamai in place, Rakuten will be able to provide its customers in key international geographic areas a consistent and engaging online shopping experience.

“We are excited to partner with a top global eCommerce organization like Rakuten. With the growth of eCommerce globally, it is critical for Rakuten to provide a fast, reliable online shopping environment for their customers,” said Pedro Santos, Chief Strategist, eCommerce, at Akamai. “With the increasing number of consumers interacting online nowadays, they have less patience to wait for a site to load when searching for a specific product. We believe that by leveraging Akamai, Rakuten can not only accelerate the delivery and performance of their dynamic site, but can also provide the best possible online shopping environment for users who expect a responsive and interactive site.”

About Rakuten

Rakuten Inc. is Japan's largest online shopping mall, with an enormous array of merchandise and services across a broad spectrum of product categories, and serves multiple millions of customers. This one-of-a-kind business offers far-reaching product assortments ranging from clothing, jewelry, supermarket foods, home improvement and appliances to travel services, casino services, music, books, sporting goods and furniture.

The Akamai Difference

Akamai® provides market-leading managed services for powering video, dynamic transactions, and enterprise applications online. Having pioneered the content delivery market one decade ago, Akamai’s services have been adopted by the world’s most recognized brands across diverse industries. The alternative to centralized Web infrastructure, Akamai’s global network of tens of thousands of distributed servers provides the scale, reliability, insight and performance for businesses to succeed online. Akamai has transformed the Internet into a more viable place to inform, entertain, advertise, interact, and collaborate. To experience The Akamai Difference, visit www.akamai.com or http://www.akamai.co.jp.