Asda owner Walmart has partnered with Rakuten to launch a new online grocery service in Japan.
The tie-up will launch with grocery and extend to the digital book market later in the year.
The new service, Rakuten Seyiu Netsuper, will replace Walmart’s existing grocery delivery offer in the country.
Walmart has joined forces with the etail titan after several attempts to crack the Asian ecommerce market.
In 2015, Walmart formed a similar partnership with China’s second-largest online retailer JD.com. Walmart sold its Chinese website to JD.com and acquired a 5% stake in the company as part of the deal.
The US giant has had an online presence in Japan since 2013 through its Seiyu subsidiary, but has penned the joint venture in a bid to expand its reach in Asia.
Rakuten is Japan’s largest ecommerce operator, with around 14,000 employees and a history in the market spanning over two decades. It boasts significant big data and AI capabilities.
The partnership will allow Walmart to tap into a market long dominated by Amazon by selling its catalogue of over six million books and audiobooks through Rakuten’s platforms.
Rakuten, meanwhile, will benefit from Walmart’s physical presence in the US by selling e-books, audiobooks and e-readers in its stores.