Rakuten Institute of Technology: The incubation center of AI research and technologies that fuel Rakuten’s innovation.

Rakuten Institute of Technology (RIT), the core AI research wing of Rakuten, is spread across six geographical locations including Tokyo, Singapore, Boston, San Mateo, Bengaluru, and Paris. This division consists of AI research scientists with specialization in machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision, knowledge discovery and data mining. This department comprises of five major verticals, namely, customer program whose aim is to acquire a deep customer understanding for Rakuten membership, language program that deals with automating product catalog and machine translation, vision program whose mission is to provide frictionless image-based experience, and moonshot initiatives which are bold and ambitious strategic initiatives taken by Rakuten. Moonshot initiatives includes programs like curing cancer using AI, quantum computing, and building a fully autonomous mobile network.

The vison of Rakuten Institute of Technology is “Automation, Better Than Human”
Being a research institute, this division has struck several noteworthy collaborations with top notch academic institutes around the globe. By establishing these collaborations and working on collaborative research projects, the bridge between academia and industry is established.


Automation: Better than human with 100 times more impact on businesses.

With this vision in mind, we aim to achieve two big goals at the same time, namely industry success and academic breakthroughs.

Takuya Kitagawa

Know our Global Head give an overview of R&D in Rakuten Institute of Technology(RIT) and get a glimpse of our vision.


Hi, this is Takuya Kitagawa, Global Head of RIT, Rakuten Institute of Technology, the research branch of Rakuten group. I would like to introduce the mission and research directions of RIT to convey our excitement.

Mission & Vision
Missions of RIT is fully aligned with Rakuten's mission to empower Rakuten membership.

Vision of RIT is "automation, better than human." Very impressive aspect of AI in the recent years is the demonstration of power of AI that can be better than human in tasks such as language and vision processing, as well as games such as Go and multi-player online games.

We would like to develop AI capability that can outperform human in the industry Rakuten leads, such as Fintech and Ecommerce shopping. For example, AI could potentially provide better asset management advice than human operators, or better product purchase advice than human shop assistant. With this vision in mind, we aim to achieve two big goals at the same time, namely industry success and academic breakthroughs.

Core AI
To achieve such ambitious goals, we develop 4 core AI programs, Customer, Language, Vision, and Voice program.

With unique proposition of Rakuten's mission to empower membership, we believe the source of innovation lies in the deep understanding of customer demands and behaviors.

We have seen very impressive progress of science in the last 100 years especially physics and chemistry. However, understanding of human being has been very challenging to even genius of Einstein, due to the lack of data related to human behaviors. Internet and smartphone era has brought unprecedented amount of such human data, and opened up the possibility of science for human understanding for the first time in history. We are very excited by this perspective.

Customer program aims to advance the understanding of human behavior with the concrete goals of understanding and predicting customers' behaviors. In particular, we would like to understand key decisions such as how people spend money and time. This customer understanding is supported by language, vision and voice programs.

For example, for understanding money spending, we can gain great understanding of customers if we could deeply understand what they buy. In return, products and services can be understood through category, descriptions and pictures. To this end, in the Language and Vision program, we are challenging to develop fully automated product catalog, by automating category classification, attribute extraction, and item-product linkage. Also, we apply language processing to classify queries to quantify customers’ demands for brands and pain-points.

Voice program provides very important venue to understanding customers, since a large portion of our communications are still done through speaking. We are challenging to develop voice interface for our customers, including voice assistant to provide customer support AI on smartphones in our mobile service.

In addition to our core AI programs, we also develop Moonshot projects.

First moonshot is autonomous network.
Rakuten’s mobile service is based on fully virtualized software-defined network developed for the first time in the world. This implies we have the potential to fully automate our network with self-healing and self-optimization properties. Developing such fully automated network will be a breakthrough in the industry, and we aim to achieve this.

Second moonshot is curing cancer supported by AI.
Rakuten is developing a new drug for curing cancer, called photo-immunotherapy. Our AI team in India is challenging to support such drug development by identifying the key biomarkers and bio-process of the drug.

Third moonshot is quantum technology.
We are developing a small theoretical physics group to develop quantum technology strategy, including quantum computer, quantum communications and quantum sensors. We are partnering with a major US university to collaborate to develop solutions.

Global advisory committee
We ensure to raise our research level to be at the top of the world, by getting the guidance and advice from renounced scientists and AI researchers, so called Rakuten Global Advisory Committee. Our researchers in RIT have the opportunity to learn and discuss their research topics with the top researchers.

We are always looking for great talents and researchers to lead us and work with us. Please contact us if you are interested in RIT.

Takuya Kitagawa
Global Head of Rakuten Institute of Technology and Managing Executive Officer, Rakuten Group, Inc.

The vision of RIT is "automation, better than human." A very impressive aspect of AI in recent years is its demonstration of power and superior performance to humans in tasks such as language and vision processing, as well as games such as Go and multi-player online games.

We would like to develop AI capaibility that can outperform humans in the industry Rakuten leads, such as Fintech and E-commerce. For example, AI could potentially provide better asset management advice than human operators, or better product purchase advice than human shop assistants. With this vision in mind, we aim to achieve two big goals at the same time, namely industry success and academic breakthroughs.


RIT collaborates with various universities and academic communities.
Detailed information about our academic collaborations is coming soon.


Currently, 160+ members are working in 6 locations globally.
We have six offices spread across the world. Taking advantage of the strengths of each location and cooperating within our global network, we conduct research to build a brighter future together.


    Rakuten Institute of Technology San Mateo, located at the US headquarters of Rakuten, was established in 2018. Our mission is to provide innovative machine intelligence solutions to empower Rakuten's businesses and customers. We currently focus on Ad relevance improvement as the part of the Customer program.

    The San Mateo office is based in the bay area of US, where emerging startups and leading universities are located, encouraging maximum innovation.

    Rakuten Crimson House West 800 Concar Drive, San Mateo, California, 94402


    Rakuten Institute of Technology Boston, established in 2015, is focusing on machine learning research and deep learning. We specifically promote research in the area of AI, which is currently developing at a remarkable pace, and collaboate with big data teams.

    The Boston office is positioned in a major academic hub of the US where several world-renowned universities are located, allowing collaboration with nearby institutions.


    2 South Station, Suite 400, Boston MA, U.S.A. 02110


    Rakuten Institute of Technology Paris, established in 2014, currently focuses on two main research areas: multi-modal information extraction from text and images, as part of the Vision Program, and improving search and recommendations, as part of the Customer Program. We use deep learning and various other machine learning techniques to build solutions for the Rakuten group.

    The team collaborates with the Catalog teams of Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten France to enrich and clean the database of products sold online, and wit the search and recommendation teams in the Big Data department.

    Rakuten France, 92 rue Reaumur, Paris. France. 75002 Directions: The building entrance is 40 rue Dussoubs, the office entrance is on the 2nd floor. The nearest subway stations are Reaumur-Sebastopol and Sentier.


    Rakuten Institute of Technology Bengaluru, established in 2018, is focusing on research into deep learning, computer vision, and robotics. Some of the office's key research topics are detection and prediction of financial fraud, computer vision in e-commerce and medical imaging, and automation of warehouse robotics and logistics.

    In Bengaluru, we are co-located with Rakuten India, and act as a hub for collaboration with Indian research universities with the aim of providing high-level researchers with opportunities.

    3rd Floor, SmartWorks, Sargod Imperial 93, Field Marshal Cariappa Rd, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560025


    Rakuten Institute of Technology Singapore was established in 2015. We have assembled a team of experts in text and image processing, machine translation, computational linguistics, behavioral sciences, and application engineering to unlock the value of data. We collaborate with local academic partners, as well as our colleagues world-wide, to transform our combined insights into new solutions for the Rakuten Group. Our research areas include machine translation, speech recognition, language learning, and user behaviour modelling.

    Currently our focus is on the development and scaling of Rakuten Translate, an automatic language translator for the Rakuten group.

    In Singapore, we share an office and a close working relationship with Rakuten Viki, the Asian TV drama streaming site.

    138 Market Street, #32-01, CapitaGreen, Singapore. 048946


    Rakuten Institute of Technology Tokyo, located at the Rakuten headquarters of Rakuten, was established in 2005. Rakuten Institute of Technology Tokyo covers various research areas including Customer program, Language program, Vision program as well as Moonshot program (5G experience and Autonomous network).

    Literally and figuratively, the Tokyo office works closely with the many business lines of Rakuten enabling frequent interaction and collaboration. Tokyo boasts a very diverse team of researchers from all over the world - the majority of whom are from countries outside Japan in Asia, the Americas and Europe.


    Rakuten Crimson House, 1-14-1 Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-0094 Directions: 4-minute walk from Futako Tamagawa Station, Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line and Tokyu Oimachi Line.


We are always looking for great talent and researchers to lead us and work with us.