😎 Summer Sale Exclusive - Up to 50% off AI-powered stock picks by InvestingProCLAIM SALE

Rakuten CEO touts Viber's ability to counter Russian 'fake news' during Kyiv visit

Published 09/09/2023, 02:08 PM
Updated 09/09/2023, 05:20 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
4755
-
ZM
-

By Max Hunder

KYIV (Reuters) - Hiroshi Mikitani, the founder and chief executive of Rakuten Group (4755.T), on Saturday touted the ability of his company's Viber messaging platform to counter Russian propaganda.

"Unlike other social media, we've made it crystal clear we're going to block all these fake news and propaganda of Russia," Mikitani told Reuters in a Zoom (NASDAQ:ZM) interview during a visit to Kyiv.

The 58-year old was speaking after meeting senior Ukrainian officials earlier in the day as part of a group of Japanese business leaders accompanying Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on a visit to Ukraine's capital.

"We met almost all ministers and they are building a future strategy... they have a macro-economic growth strategy, and I am very encouraged and impressed," he said.

Viber, which launched in 2010 and was acquired by Rakuten in 2014, has a 98% market penetration rate in Ukraine. It is also popular in Russia.

Asked if the app had faced attempts to breach it by Russia, he said there had not been any breaches.

"We have never been breached by Russia in the past. Sometimes, way before the war, we had requests, which we rejected... we do not have any security concerns."

Mikitani did not elaborate on what was requested or by whom, but said that Viber has never given any information to any government.

The billionaire entrepreneur has previously been vocal in his support for Ukraine and made a 1 billion yen ($6.77 million) donation to its government at the start of the invasion.

Rakuten has announced plans to work with Ukraine's largest mobile operator, Kyivstar, to provide Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) telecommunications technology that uses software to run network functions on the cloud, something Mikitani has touted as a technology of the future.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

"All this hardware-based technology is the technology of maybe 2010," he said. "Software is going to be much more efficient, total cost of operation will go down maybe 30% to 50%."

($1 = 147.8100 yen)

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.