Tokyo, Japan-based e-commerce and internet giant Rakuten, Inc., has opened its India research and development (R&D) institute here to focus on deep learning, computer vision and robotics for warehouse logistics applications.
At its operations centre in Bengaluru, the company has opened Rakuten Institute of Technology (RIT) as its research centre in India that will combine creativity and innovation with emerging technologies to fuel the growth of e-commerce. The centre is Rakuten’s sixth R&D centre across the globe as its five other research centres are in Tokyo, Paris, Singapore, Boston and San Mateo in the US.
AT RIT Bangalore, the applied research on deep learning will be to detect and predict financial fraud, developing applications in computer vision for e-commerce and medical imagining and advancement of automation to improve efficiency in warehouse robotics and logistics.
The Bangalore R&D facility will also be a hub for collaboration with Indian universities to provide researchers opportunities to study internet technologies and develop services for the Rakuten group companies the world over.
The company has appointed Sunil Gopinath as the Institute’s first Chief Executive. Gopinath was earlier working at Flipkart and eBay.
“India has a large technical talent and its researchers have an understanding of combining academic research with business domain applications to deliver pioneering business solutions,” said Gopinath.
The RIT also partners with Hidehiko Masuhara of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Ruby computer programming language creator Yukihiro Masumoto serves as a fellow.
The RIT’s first centre was set up in Japan in 2006 to keep pace with the evolution of the cyber world and the rapid growth of internet services globally.
Masaya Mori, who is global head at RIT, said, “India has a vibrant computer science research community in Bengaluru and we look forward to collaborate with academic researchers to discover and develop new technology applications.”
Rakuten is looking to move the centre of gravity of its technology operations to India and seeking to grab a share of Indian e-commerce industry that has been growing at an average annual rate of 34% since 2009.
Notably, Flipkart’s parenr Walmart on other hand has had also partnered with Rakuten, earlier this year. As part of the deal, Walmart will start selling Aura-branded e-readers made by Kobo, a division of Rakuten, in stores and online at Walmart.com. Kobo is one of the Amazon Kindle’s competitors.
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