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Revenue at Japan's Rakuten expected to top 1 trillion yen

Online retailer expects to be 1st company founded after 1990 to reach milestone

TOKYO -- Japanese online retailer Rakuten expects its revenue to exceed 1 trillion yen ($8.85 billion) for the first time this year, some two decades after it was founded in 1997.

The company believes the top-line result for the year through December, up from 944.4 billion yen in 2017, owes to its success combining its mainline e-commerce business with new areas, including consumer credit and banking, and tourism.

If its sales top the 1 trillion yen mark, Rakuten will become the first Japanese company started from scratch after 1990 to achieve the feat.

The company's consolidated operating income for 2018 is forecast to rise about 20% on the year to more than 170 billion yen, according to International Financial Reporting Standards, setting a record for the second consecutive year.

Growth has been strong in Rakuten's financial businesses, including credit card operations and securities trading, as has its lending to individual customers, particularly for home mortgages.

Rakuten also expects to book proceeds from the sale later this month of O-net, a subsidiary that helps people find marriage partners.

The company says earnings may be further lifted by potential valuation gains on its stakes in startups such as Lyft, a U.S. ride-sharing service, which it invests in through its venture capital fund.

According to a Nikkei tally, there are 23 companies established since 1990 that have reached the 1 trillion yen revenue mark. All were businesses spun off from large companies or born through mergers. These include mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo and steelmaker JFE Holdings.

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