(Repeats to remove extra word in headline)
By Teppei Kasai and Yoshiyasu Shida
TOKYO Aug 4 Japan's largest e-commerce company
Rakuten Inc posted a 9.9 percent decrease in second
quarter operating profit, dragged lower by weaker trading
volumes on its Internet finance platform.
Rakuten's operating profit of 22.21 billion yen was largely
in line the 22.35 billion yen average estimate by five analysts,
according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Operating profit at the Internet finance unit fell 17.6
percent compared to the second-quarter of last year, the company
said in a statement. A stock market rally in the second-quarter
of last year boosted profits.
The decline is in line with the results of other Japanese
brokerages, which had also benefited from the rally, driven by
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic stimulus policies.
Rakuten, controlled by Japan's fourth-richest man Hiroshi
Mikitani, also said the number of subscribers to its smartphone
messaging app Viber now stood at 608 million, an increase of
nearly 50 percent from December last year.
Rakuten acquired Viber in February for $900 million as part
of Mikitani's strategy to boost overseas purchases to broaden
Viber competes with the messaging app from Japan-based Line
Corp which is seeking an initial public offering that could
value the company at up to $20 billion. The company last week
said its second-quarter revenue jumped by more than half.
Line, owned by South Korea's Naver Corp, said
its subscribers now exceed 490 million, although the company
does not say how many of them are active on a monthly basis, a
key metric for valuing chat apps.
(Editing by Miral Fahmy)