Monday, October 21, 2013
Cheap Internet Can Boost Japan Economy: Mikitani
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Japan must make Internet access as cheap and widely available as possible to boost the economy, Rakuten Inc. chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said Monday.
- Hiroshi Mikitani
Speaking at the Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo, the founder and head of the online giant said globalization had increased the need for better Internet connectivity and international communication.
"The Internet situation in South Korea is that Wi-Fi is high speed and inexpensive," Mikitani said, adding that the country had become highly competitive in recent years. "Japan should pull ahead of the U.S. and Europe."
He also said that Rakuten is looking to become a truly global company through its hiring process, with foreigners accounting for about 30% of the company's new hires overall and 70% of its newly hired engineers.
The company is attempting to expand by offering services in multiple languages. "Japanese products are popular abroad, especially in Southeast Asia. Even small stores in Japan can sell their goods all over the world," Mikitani said, noting that some stores sell 70% of their goods overseas.
The company has also changed to a stock-based bonus system for some employees to try to shift its corporate culture away from a Japan Inc. model that Mikitani believes is outdated. "In Rakuten, 30% of the bonus is paid in company shares, so employees become more aware of corporate performance."