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Rakuten and Tencent’s Mega Deal Comes Under Regulatory Pressure

Rakuten, Japan’s biggest online retailer | Source: Rakuten

WeChat owner Tencent Holdings’ investment in Japanese e-commerce and IT giant Rakuten, which saw Tencent become the latter’s majority shareholder with a 3.65 percent stake, is drawing scrutiny from both the Japanese and US governments due to fears that Beijing will gain access to users’ private information, The Japan Times reports.

Aside from e-commerce, Rakuten also runs a telecommunications business, named Rakuten Mobile. Japan’s foreign exchange and trade control law limits investments by foreign firms and investors in Japanese businesses in sensitive fields including telecommunications; the news exposes the limits of these rules.

Sources said that the Japanese government will conduct regular interviews with Rakuten and share results with the White House. Focal points will include Tencent’s involvement in the firm’s management and the latter’s control over customers’ personal data. Rakuten has since rejected claims that shareholders would be able to access customer data.

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