Rakuten, the Japanese etail giant which owns Play.com, is leading a $100m investment in social networking site Pinterest.

Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and First Mark Capital are also involved along with a number of angel investors.

Rakuten chief executive Hiroshi Mikitani said there were “tremendous synergies” between Rakuten’s model for ecommerce and Pinterest’s vision.

He said: “While some may see e-commerce as a straightforward vending machine-like experience, we believe it is a living process where both retailers and consumers can communicate, discover, and curate to make the experience more entertaining.”

Rakuten is one of the top 10 internet companies in the world and owns sites including Play.com in the UK, Buy.com in the US and its original Rakuten Ichiba site in Japan.

The investment will be used to improve Pinterest’s service and expand it globally.