Rakuten to enter low-cost carrier business with AirAsia - report

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TOKYO (June 26): Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc is preparing to enter the low-cost carrier business in Japan as early as July with Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd, Toyo Keizai reported in its online edition.

Rakuten is in talks over becoming a major investor in a Japanese venture that AirAsia is planning to launch, the Japanese magazine reported, adding that AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes would visit Japan as early as next month to hold a news conference on the venture.

AirAsia previously had a Japanese budget airline joint venture with ANA Holdings Inc but they dissolved the loss-making alliance last June after it failed to win over Japanese travellers.

A Rakuten spokeswoman said the company was checking the report.

Shares in Rakuten were up more than 2 percent in Tokyo on Thursday morning, outperforming a 0.3 percent rise in the broader market.