Chairman and chief executive, Rakuten

The boss of this Japanese firm catapulted his way into the Etail Power List only weeks before it went to press after his business Rakuten agreed to purchase entertainment etailer Play.com.

It’s the company’s third purchase in Europe, and there were raised eyebrows among the UK ecommerce fraternity as the price set for the Play.com business was only £25m. Hiroshi Mikitani has also overseen purchases of French ecommerce pioneer PriceMinister in 2010, and the rapidly expanding German online shopping mall, Tradoria, in July 2011.

Rakuten provides consumer and business-focused services including ecommerce, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, portal & media, online marketing and professional sports. It operates ecommerce businesses in 10 countries, including Japan. Mikitani founded the company under a previous name in 1997, and floated it in Japan in 2000.

He has expressed a desire to integrate Play’s operation into its global ecommerce operation, and develop its business model further. Expect to hear more of this man’s company in 2012.