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Business deals

Rakuten gropes for ways to sharpen business edge

Investors yet to show support for Japanese e-commerce champion's recent ventures

Rakuten Chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani shakes hands with Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon in Tokyo on Jan. 26. (Photo by Masayuki Yuda)

TOKYO -- There has been an air of desperation about Japanese e-commerce and internet conglomerate Rakuten of late.

In a volley of major announcements which began last month -- from forming a partnership with U.S. retailer Walmart, to acquiring a property insurer -- Rakuten Chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani has been seeking to impress consumers and the market, attempting to sharpen the company's business edge and expand its ecosystem of services. However, the announcements have so far failed to motivate investors, simply because none of the deals has looked to be a game changer.

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