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Rakuten to Acquire Stocks of Asia's Leading Online Market Research Fieldwork Agency, AIP

Rakuten, Inc. today announced that it has reached a basic agreement with a group of shareholders, which includes the largest individual shareholder, of AIP Corporation ("AIP"), a Tokyo-based leading online market research fieldwork agency in Asia, for the acquisition of its outstanding shares. Rakuten intends to make AIP a wholly owned subsidiary through the acquisition of the shares from existing shareholders. The acquisition price of the shares has not been disclosed.

AIP holds its proprietary research panels1 in 15 countries and regions throughout the world, primarily in Asia, and provides market research services mainly utilizing the Internet. AIP has offices in eight locations in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific, including its headquarters in Tokyo, and has a customer base that extends to 36 countries and regions throughout the world.

Rakuten started its research business in 2002. Its subsidiary, Rakuten Research, supports its clients' marketing activities through a wide array of services that meet the client's needs, such as offline research and MROC2, with a focus on online research. Rakuten Research boasts a proprietary research panel comprising of 2.28 million consumer panelists3, making it one of the largest survey panels in Japan. In recent years, it has also been expanding its offerings to Japanese clients looking to perform marketing activities internationally.

The Internet research market has seen rapid growth in Japan in recent years, and in 2013 it became a $11,335 million market that now accounts for 29%4 of the research market globally. In particular, remarkable growth is predicted in the Asian region, which will be backed by increased consumption as a result of economic growth, the aggressive entry of global corporate clients into the market, and the rapid increase of Internet users.

Rakuten has determined that through the acquisition of AIP's shares, Rakuten Research will further strengthen its international market research services for Japanese clients. Rakuten Research will be able to provide services that are capable of meeting the diverse needs of companies that are looking to expand into other countries by combining its domestic panel in Japan with the large-scale, high quality panels AIP holds in Asia. On the other hand, by joining the Rakuten Group, AIP will be able to provide its existing clients in countries all over the world with the market research services including Rakuten Research's panel, which are among the largest in Japan. In the future, the Rakuten Group will strengthen synergies between its research business and the other businesses being expanded throughout the world, while also accelerating its global expansion by means of enhancing its panels in various international markets.

1. Member organization of people who cooperate in responding to questionnaires for purposes of market research

2. MROC (Marketing Research Online Community) is targeted group of people who are recruited into a private online venue to participate in research-related activities such as discussions and exchange of insights over an extended period of time.

3. As of July 2014

4. ESOMAR "Global Market Research 2013," http://www.esomar.org/

About AIP Corporation

AIP is the leading online market research fieldwork agency in Asia. AIP's proprietary panels in 15 markets are actively managed to the highest standards, combined with dedicated multi-national/lingual consultants who are specialized in global projects - AIP ensures client's surveys are asking the right questions, to the right people, in the right language.

AIP has offices in Tokyo (HQ), Shanghai, Seoul, Hong Kong, New York, London, Singapore, and New Delhi.

About Rakuten Research:

Rakuten Research is the leading full-service market research agency in Japan. We recruit our proprietary panel of 2.3 million in Japan through our group company Rakuten, Inc, which is the leading e-commerce platform in Japan and one of the world's leading Internet service companies.

The validity of our panels is guaranteed and backed by our advanced technology and quality control systems. As one of the earliest online marketing research companies, we have built strong relations of trust with our clients.

About Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten, Inc. (4755:Tokyo), is one of the world's leading Internet service companies. We provide a variety of products and services for consumers and businesses, with a focus on e-commerce, finance, and digital content. In both 2012 and 2013, Rakuten was ranked among the world's 'Top 10 Most Innovative Companies' in Forbes magazine's annual list. Rakuten is expanding worldwide and currently operates throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 11,000 employees and partner staff worldwide. For more information: http://global.rakuten.com/corp/.

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