Today in Quartz membership: A Q&A with Rakuten founder Hiroshi Mikitani

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Hi there, Quartz members!

An exclusive Q&A with Hiroshi Mikitani

We’re publishing another exclusive interview today, with Rakuten founder and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani. Rakuten is an e-commerce giant in Asia, but it’s looking to expand its brand thought the world. To do that, Mikitani has pursued some massive sponsorships in global sport. To date, Rakuten and Mikitani have:

  • Become a lead sponsor of the world-famous FC Barcelona football club
  • Emblazoned its logo on the jerseys of NBA champions the Golden State Warriors
  • Bought a professional football club in Japan, Vissel Kobe
  • Entered into a partnership to manage tennis’s Davis Cup
  • Has become a major supporter of Spartan Race

Mikitani believes there’s more to these deals than just getting a logo in front of some eyeballs (though the number of eyeballs is considerable). He envisions a future in which teams—and their communities of fans—are brought deeper into the network of platforms and services Rakuten owns. It’s a fascinating look into the intersection of business and entertainment at a global scale.

Tomorrow: A new idea

On Friday, we’re going to experiment with something new: a travel-strategy series. Less a look at where to go, we’re more interested in the most efficient and rewarding ways to get from point A to point B.  We’ll be eager to get your feedback, so please email us at the address below with your thoughts.

Next week: A journey to the moon

Starting Monday, we’ll have a new field guide providing an in-depth look at efforts to return to the moon. What used to be a competition between nations has expanded to include private industry. And with the tantalizing possibility of water on the moon, Earth’s satellite could prove to be a critical piece in the puzzle of getting to places like Mars and beyond.

Let’s keep learning. Send ideas, questions, comments, and pairs of vintage Copa Mundial cleats to

Hope you have a rewarding day,

Sam Grobart

Quartz membership editor