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First team players Leo Messi, Neymar Jr, Gerard Piqué and Arda Turan, along with FC Barcelona’s Vice President for Marketing and Communication, Manel Arroyo, will take part in a series of events in Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday and Thursday to kick off Barca’s global partnership deal with Rakuten. The global internet services company, based in Japan, became FC Barcelona’s Main Global Partner and Official Innovation and Entertainment Partner on July 1. The event will be the players’ first public appearance in the new shirt bearing Rakuten’s name.
The blaugrana expedition is expected to arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday or Wednesday. Once there, they will attend a private meeting with the founder and CEO of Rakuten Inc., Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani. The main events will take place on Thursday, with a press conference celebrating the partnership between FC Barcelona and Rakuten. This will be the first official event related to the partnership that will run for four seasons, with the option of one more, and will see Rakuten’s name appear on the front of the first team shirt.
Aside from the press conference, both the players and Manel Arroyo have a busy agenda on Thursday. Among the programmed activities, there will be a meet-up with Rakuten employees and a private dinner with VIP guests from the Japanese business, entertainment and sports arenas. There will also be a series of interviews with both Japanese and international media outlets as well as a conversation with fans over the Rakuten Viber instant messaging and calling app. The group is scheduled to travel back to Barcelona on Thursday so that the players can start training under new coach Ernesto Valverde.
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1 billion members around the world. Since 2012, Rakuten has ranked in the top 20 of Forbes Magazine's annual "World's Most Innovative Companies" list. The Rakuten Group has over 14,000 employees, and operations in 29 countries and regions.
As FC Barcelona’s first Global Partner for Innovation and Entertainment, Rakuten will support the players and impress Barça fans and members around the world with new initiatives that showcase the impressive technological capacity of the company in such fields as messaging, drones, e-commerce and AI (artificial intelligence).
These initiatives will be supported by Rakuten’s global resources. Rakuten’s European holdings include the global mobile messaging service and FC Barcelona Official Communication Channel, Rakuten Viber,; Rakuten TV, the video streaming service based in Barcelona and available in twelve countries; Rakuten PriceMinister, one of the leading e-commerce websites in France; and Rakuten Kobo, a global digital e-reading service now available in twelve European countries. Rakuten’s businesses in Japan and the United States include Rakuten Ichiba, the leading Japanese online shopping mall, Ebates, the cashback service based in the United States, and Rakuten Overdrive, an electronic book distributor for libraries. These Rakuten group companies will also provide valuable support for the partnership.
For more information about Rakuten, click here.
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