Rakuten posts quarterly loss on wireless investment, e-commerce grows

©Kyodo News

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Group Inc. said Thursday it remained in the red in the first quarter to March due to continued investment for expansion of its fledgling wireless service but saw strong growth in its pandemic-driven e-commerce business.

The company posted 25.14 billion yen ($230 million) in net loss compared with a year-earlier loss of 35.32 billion and following a loss in fiscal 2020 of 114.20 billion, weighed down by the cost of installing wireless base stations across the country.

Rakuten Group booked an operating loss of 37.34 billion yen, worsening from a loss a year earlier of 24.05 billion yen, while sales jumped 18.1 percent to 391.51 billion yen, the highest ever for the January-March period due to the robust e-commerce business.

The company said its internet services including e-commerce earned a profit of 41.21 billion yen as more people shopped from home.

Its financial services including online banking and credit cards garnered a profit of 24.55 billion yen, while the mobile phone segment incurred a loss of 97.25 billion yen.

Rakuten Group launched a full-scale wireless service in April last year, entering a market dominated by NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp.