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BARCELONA

Barcelona's new global sponsor: who they are, what they do

Barcelona announced their new global sponsor today as Rakuten take over from Qatar Airways.

Rakuten

Celtic - Barcelona en directo

Barcelona announced their new global sponsor today as Rakuten take over from Qatar Airways while beating out reported competition from Huawei, Honda and Amazon. The deal is expected to pay the club €60 million per season through to 2021.

Who are Rakuten?

The short version is that they are an e-commerce and internet company founded by their current CEO Hiroshi Mikitani in 1997 and are one of the largest e-commerce companies based on sales in the world.

According to their own website, "Rakuten Ichiba, which opened with the establishment of the Company, is Japan’s largest Internet shopping mall, made up of shops from various regions that form a virtual shopping mall on the Internet. Guided by the concept “Shopping is Entertainment,” Rakuten Ichiba offers a shopping venue that emphasizes both scale and quality."

The company has been in operation for 20 years, having been founded in 1997, entering its 20th year in operation in 2016.

Their mission is "to empower people and society through innovation and entrepreneurship."

Rakuten's business model

Rakuten's business model

What does that mean?

As you can see from the image above, they do pretty much everything including banking, insurance, e-commerce and everything in between.

Their CEO - Hiroshi Mikitani

A message from their CEO on their website says, "We started out as champions of innovation in e-commerce. We were the first company globally to successfully launch a merchant-focused e-commerce marketplace."

They also pride themselves on the fact that they "are challenging the status quo by investing in new business models and start-up talent." This includes experiments with drones and artificial intelligence.