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SoftBank, Yahoo, Aeon to launch online retail store to fight Amazon


To compete against US e-tailer Amazon, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group, Yahoo and Aeon are planning to launch an online retail business.

The trio will sell clothes, food and everyday essential things, said Reuters via NHK report quoting a source privy to the development. The partnership will allow SoftBank and Yahoo Japan’s customer base to clubbed with Aeon’s wide product range and distribution network to have a greater presence.

SoftBank could also leverage its labour-saving robotics to Aeon stores, the report added. Though the firms involved are yet to confirm the development.

In January, Walmart and Rakuten also reported to launch an online grocery delivery service. Seven and i Holdings Co Ltd, operator of Japan’s largest chain of convenience stores, announced last year it would cooperate on fresh food delivery with Askul Corp.

Besides, Softbank is also partnering with ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing to provide ride-hailing and other services for the Japanese taxi industry.

Of late, Amazon has intensified its global services and increased its ranges. In Japan, other than its food delivery services, it has been opening a gigantic photography studio. Amazon has more success in Japan as it has outperformed the local competitor.

Softbank has also been strategically been investing and collaborating with other firms around the world. SoftBank Group chairman Masayoshi Son claimed that the Japanese firm’s investments in the global e-commerce market have been successful in keeping the Amazon at bay.

Son, who may list its mobile phone unit on the Tokyo Stock Exchange this year, made around 100 investments in innovative and growing startups last year.

In India, it has invested in companies such as Flipkart, Ola, Oyo Rooms, Paytm, Grofers and Snapdeal among others. In November last year, Son had claimed that Amazon has been in a loss in India whereas Flipkart owns a 60% share in India’s e-commerce market, while Paytm commands a 58% share of India’s digital payments business.

In 2014, Son committed to invest at least $10 billion in India’s booming technology and start-up ecosystem. In last three years, SoftBank has put in more than $4 billion into the Indian market, taking its investments in Indian start-ups to more than $6 billion.

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