Staff Reporters
May 16, 2024

Asia-Pacific Power List 2024: Naho Kono, Rakuten

Kono continues to make business breakthroughs for Rakuten and has achieved impressive brand awareness metrics. She has also been instrumental in integrating AI into the company’s ecosystem in the past year.

Asia-Pacific Power List 2024: Naho Kono, Rakuten
Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers

Naho Kono 

EVP, CMO and managing executive officer of Rakuten Mobile
Rakuten Group
Member since 2020

As Rakuten Group’s CMO, Naho Kono has led the Rakuten ecosystem’s growth through oversight of the company’s branding, marketing, and creative initiatives. She has consistently been on the Campaign Asia-Pacific’s Power List since 2020. Under her leadership, the company’s business model has continued to grow and expand over the years, with over 41.5 million monthly active users as of December 2023 and 76.9% of users tapping into two or more services over the past year.

Meanwhile, Rakuten achieved global brand awareness of 81.3% among critical regions, including the US, Canada, France, Spain, Taiwan and Japan. This stat refers to the brand's corporate logo awareness level based on a survey conducted in January this year. 

With Rakuten Mobile at the forefront, the number of subscribers hit six million, with a low churn rate of 1.13% as of December 2023. Notably, mobile subscribers contribute a 60% increase in annual gross merchandise sales on the Rakuten Ichiba marketplace. 

Rakuten secured 28th place out of 100 companies in Interbrand’s ‘Best Japan Brands 2024 Rankings’. Representing the Rakuten brand, Kono joined the brand leaders interview series, discussing the company’s strategy, employee engagement, and purpose-driven management. 

One area the company is decidedly doubling down on is AI. By integrating AI into the existing Rakuten ecosystem and promoting the use of AI in the work of all employees, the group has developed a comprehensive AI strategy, ranging from the launch of a new employee platform in strategic partnership with OpenAI, to Rakuten AI for Business, targeting B2B clients and partner companies.

Kono keeps an active profile at industry events and awards judging panels. In 2024, she was a speaker at Rakuten’s largest annual business event, Rakuten Optimism 2023, and focused the session on unlocking the potential of AI.

Kono joined Rakuten in 2003. She has held key senior positions in marketing, UI/UX, and business strategy for Rakuten Ichiba, Japan’s largest online shopping platform. In 2017, she became the first woman and the youngest individual to assume the role of a managing executive officer at Rakuten and took the reins of the ecommerce business from Rakuten’s founder, Mickey Mikitani. Subsequently, she spearheaded the development of the Super Point Up programme, a strategic initiative designed to encourage users to shop and use more Rakuten services.

Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers


Campaign Asia

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