Japan’s Leading E-Commerce and Fintech Company Rakuten to Create New Jobs in Northern Ireland

May 05, 2017
Pictured (L – R) are Yasufumi Hirai, Rakuten, and Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI.

Rakuten, a leader in internet services and global innovation headquartered in Japan, is setting up a FinTech Software Development Centre in Belfast, creating 20 new jobs.

Invest Northern Ireland has offered Rakuten £140,000 to support its investment in Northern Ireland. Rakuten’s new centre is initially focusing on developing blockchain technology, which is the technology underpinning the digital currency Bitcoin.

The Belfast-based blockchain lab on Ormeau Avenue will provide internal IT services for Rakuten’s global business and customer base. 11 of the 20 new roles are already in place and include positions for both experienced software professionals and graduates.

"Rakuten's investment to establish the organisation’s only blockchain lab in Belfast is a major coup for Northern Ireland"

- Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI

Announcing the investment, Invest NI’s Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton, said: “Rakuten is a significant player in global financial technology and its investment to establish the organisation’s only blockchain lab in Belfast is a major coup for Northern Ireland.

“The 20 new software engineering roles will generate £855,000 annually in additional salaries and support the ongoing development of Rakuten’s global businesses.”

“Its focus on eCommerce & FinTech will make Rakuten a valuable addition to the cluster of cyber security businesses already investing in Northern Ireland.

“Rakuten has begun to explore opportunities with Queen’s University’s Centre for Secure Information Technology (CSIT) and have representatives from their Global Security Team in Japan attending the 7th World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit being held in Belfast next week.”

Rakuten Inc. has over 1 billion customers worldwide and offers a great variety of services in nearly 200 countries. It recently purchased Bitnet’s IP relating to blockchain technologies, the US managed business who invested in NI in 2014.

"Northern Ireland is fast becoming a global hub for cyber security professionals"

- Yasufumi Hirai, Rakuten

Speaking about the investment during a visit to Northern Ireland, Yasufumi Hirai, Rakuten’s Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer said: “Northern Ireland is fast becoming a global hub for cyber security professionals and we are keen to leverage the expertise which exists here to drive growth across our businesses.

“Invest NI’s support, combined with the availability of local skills and talent, made Northern Ireland our preferred location to establish our unique blockchain lab. The engagement and work ethic of the personnel we’ve recruited locally is impressive and we’re confident the team in Belfast will be an invaluable addition to the Rakuten Group.”

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