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Rakuten trying to pick its overseas battles better

Rakuten's Japanese virtual mall faces tough competition from the likes of

TOKYO -- Rakuten will shut down e-retailing websites in three European countries, continuing to scale back what had started as an ambitious global expansion drive.

Online marketplaces and physical bases in the U.K., Spain and Austria will be closed by the end of August, the Japanese e-commerce giant said Wednesday. The move is expected to impact around 100 employees. Rakuten accounts for 1% or less of e-retailing sales in various European countries, data from British research firm Euromonitor International shows.

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