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Rakuten has acquired Fablic, provider of C2C marketplace app, Fril, reports Japan Today.

The undisclosed, 100% stake has made Rakuten the sole owner of the Japanese app. Japan is seeing an increase in popularity in C2C marketplace platforms that make it possible to buy and sell speedily and at predetermined prices, as well as a transition away from auction services that involve a bidding process.

Fril launched in 2012 as Japan’s first C2C marketplace mobile app, and has cumulative downloads of the app now exceeding 5 million. 

In November 2014, Rakuten also launched Rakuma, a C2C marketplace app for use mainly on smartphones, and this is also seeing a rapid expansion in gross merchandise sales. Rakuten in Japan has considerably been performing better than its Southeast Asian branches, as the company has shut down operations in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The combined monthly GMS of the two companies’ services already exceed several billion yen. The addition of Fril will further accelerate Rakuten’s dominance of the C2C market in Japan.

Rakuten is currently planning to allow users to use their Rakuten member ID to log into Fril, and implement point campaigns utilizing Rakuten Super Points. These features are already integral to the Rakuma platform. This will contribute to enhanced convenience for Fril users and broaden Rakuten Group’s overall user base.

By exploring ways to collaborate and enhancing on each other’s strengths, the addition of Fril into Rakuen’s ecosystem should further innovate the C2C landscape in Japan.

A version of this appeared in Japan Today on September 5. Read the full version here.

Carro Raises Funding

Carro raises funding of $5.3 million for its online marketplace for buying and selling cars. The Singapore-based platform will use the Series A to expand in Southeast Asia. The company launched only in November 2015 and has welcomed ten different investors from across Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and China.

There are plenty of classifieds that help car owners sell their vehicles online, but Carro aims to stand out from the crowd with a services-focused offering. That’s to say that it doesn’t simply focus on sales,

Carro calculates the price and likely time to sell a vehicle — a nice hook to nab potential sellers — a virtual showroom option for dealers and a consumer-to-consumer marketplace.

Looking to next year, Carro CEO Aaron Tan admits that the company will have to decide whether to continue its focus on Southeast Asia, a nascent but high-potential digital market with over 600 million consumers, or battle for market share in more established Western markets.

“Classified sites are more like channels,” he said. “We use them to promote [our own sales.] When you look at classifieds versus marketplaces, [there’s] not that much in terms of competition.”

Approximately three-quarters of Carro’s traffic comes from mobile. However, with tens of thousands of dollars in purchases at stake, mobile tends to be for browsing with most consumers preferring to buy on a tablet or laptop after doing more research before parting with their hard-earned cash.

A version of this appeared in Tech Crunch on June 13. Read the full article here.