Rakuten has move into the eReader marketplace with the announcement that it will acquire the Canadian spin-out company, Kobo for $315 million in cash. The Toronto based headquarters, management team and employees of Kobo will remain in place as part of the deal.
Once part of the book, toy and gift retailer, Indigo, Kobo has a number of eReader devices as well as an ebook catalogue of 2.5 million titles, integration with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter as well as distribution through a number of retail partners. Users are incentivised to interact with Kobo and encourage other users through an awards system.
Rakuten, owner of several global online retail operations, sees the acquisition as a foot in the door of downloadable media, as the Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, explained:
“We are very excited about this next step. Kobo provides one of the world’s most communal eBook reading experiences with its innovative integration of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter; while Rakuten offers Kobo unparalleled opportunities to extend its reach through some of the world’s largest regional e-commerce companies, including Buy.com in the US, Tradoria in Germany, Rakuten Brazil, Rakuten Taiwan, Lekutian in China, TARAD in Thailand, and Rakuten Belanja Online in Indonesia, and of course, Rakuten Ichiba in Japan.”
The companies estimate that the global ebook market will be worth $10.6 billion by 2015, excluding the Chinese market.
In This Story: Canada
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. It extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world’s second-largest country by total area.
Its southern and western border with the United States, stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world’s longest bi-national land border. Canada’s capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Various Indigenous peoples inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years before European colonization. The Canada Act 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British Parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with a monarch and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the Cabinet and head of government.
As a highly developed country, Canada has the seventeenth-highest nominal per-capita income globally as well as the thirteenth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index. Its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks.
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In This Story: Taiwan
The political status of Taiwan is complicated. The Republic of China (ROC) is no longer a member of the UN, having been replaced by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1971. Taiwan is claimed by the PRC, which refuses diplomatic relations with countries that recognise the ROC. Taiwan maintains official diplomatic relations with 14 out of 193 UN member states and the Holy See.