Rakuten launches API marketplace

Maria Nikolova

Rakuten RapidAPI is the result of the collaboration between Japan’s Rakuten Inc and San Francisco-based startup RapidAPI.

Over recent years, businesses and governments alike have embraced open APIs in order to generate new revenue streams using data assets. This trend has been among the factors for the development of the so-called API economy. There is nothing astonishing then that major online companies are seeking ways to harness this trend.

Today, Rakuten Inc (TYO:4755) announces that it has entered into an exclusive strategic partnership with San Francisco-based startup RapidAPI, operated by R Software Inc., to launch a new API (Application Program Interface) marketplace service called Rakuten RapidAPI.

The API marketplace aims to provide software developers in Japan and Asia unified access to more than 8,000 APIs with localized documentation and resources in Japanese and English. The API marketplace platform will connect API providers and developers. Developers in Japan and across Asia will be able to find, test, and connect to thousands of APIs for their applications. The marketplace will also allow API providers to connect with the global developer community through personalized API portals.

Rakuten will provide the knowledge and know-how it has developed from its marketplace business along with technical support while RapidAPI will share its core technology and infrastructure platform. Rakuten Communications Corp., a subsidiary of Rakuten, will be responsible for market development across the Asia Pacific region.

Rakuten RapidAPI offers developers and API providers with tools and management dashboards to centrally manage API promotion, usage, testing and configuration, performance, documentation and billing. In addition, the platform processes all billing transactions between API providers and software developers.

The Rakuten RapidAPI marketplace has customizations for Yen-based pricing. The platform is expected to expand throughout the Asia region in the near future.

“APIs have enabled developers all over the world to create transformative applications faster. However, due to language and cultural barriers, developers in Japan have lagged behind,” said Iddo Gino, Founder and CEO of RapidAPI. “By creating a platform with localized API documentation and local support, we can solve this.”

Rakuten notes the growing regulatory trend towards data sharing. For instance, Japan’s revised Banking Act enacted on June 1, 2018 requires financial institutions to undertake efforts to make available APIs with external businesses, ushering in new era for the Fintech industry.

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