This development positions Rakuten, a conglomerate with a wide array of businesses ranging from e-commerce to banking and telecommunications, at the forefront of the AI race.
Mikitani highlighted Rakuten’s access to a vast and unique dataset, which will be instrumental in training their large language model (LLM).
Mikitani’s vision for Rakuten’s AI model is two-fold. Initially, the model will be used internally to boost operational efficiency and marketing efforts by an estimated 20%.
Subsequently, Rakuten aims to offer this technology to third-party businesses, akin to the models provided by Amazon and Microsoft, enabling these businesses to leverage Rakuten’s AI for their own operations.
While the exact timeline for the launch remains undefined, with a Rakuten spokesperson indicating that an announcement might be expected in the coming months, this step is significant for the Japanese tech industry.
Historically trailing behind their U.S. and Chinese counterparts in AI development, Japanese firms like Rakuten, NTT, and SoftBank are now accelerating their AI initiatives.
This shift not only narrows the technology gap but also opens up opportunities for advancements in AI tailored to the Japanese language and market.
Mikitani confidently anticipates that this push into AI will lead to substantial profitable growth for Rakuten, marking a new era in the company’s technological evolution and influence.