It is usually interesting when a big Asian company buys out an European company to expand their reach. At first glance, it doesn’t seem to make business sense that big Asian corporations would express interest in what European countries are doing especially with the clash of styles between the two. Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is no stranger to that buying out three European companies in just two years. They are often known as the Eastern version of Amazon and with companies such as Buy.com, Kobo, and Ikeda on their belt, they deserve that title. In addition, they invested 100 million in one of the rising social networks, Pinterest, recently. The number one shopping site at Japan, is also a big global player, as there is even a U.S. version of Rakuten, but now they are adding another country into their stable. Today, Rakuten acquired a fourth European company, which is Wuaki.tv. This is also the Japanese giant’s first foray into the Spanish market.
Wuaki.tv in a nutshell is Spain’s version of Netflix. It was started in 2009 and often described over at there as an “online videoclub.” Similar to what Netflix usually does, premium content is offered through the Internet to users and gets streamed on smart televisions directly. They also have relationships with Hollywood studios in terms of distribution as well as television manufacturers to make sure the service is implemented in their TV sets. In other words, it is not just Spanish movies that only appear on the service as Hollywood blockbusters old and new are also available there. Rakuten must have saw something in Wuaki.tv compared to similar European services, but it seems like they see potential of the Spanish market, despite Spain marred in a recession. As far as how much did Rakuten spent on Wuaki.tv, they did not want to discuss those terms. If this acquisition is successful, will we see more Asian companies expand into the Spanish or even other European markets? With some Asian companies, particularly from China, deep in cash, it is a big possibility that more of these acquisitions will happen in the future.
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