A screenshot of Rakuten's English shopping page.

TOKYO — Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten said Monday that its net profit for its fiscal first half rose by nearly 50 percent on the year, due largely to higher sales and a low comparative base in first-half 2016.

For the six months ended June 30, the company’s net income grew 49.4 percent to 40.32 billion yen ($358.8 million at average exchange). Operating income gained 39.2 percent to 68.62 billion yen.

Rakuten recorded first-half net sales growth of 19.3 percent to 440.09 billion yen.

While it continues to make efforts to become more international, the company’s main business remains its e-commerce services in Japan, where the company is taking various actions to further sales growth.

“These include programs with the aim of improving customer satisfaction, aggressive sales activities and strategies to enhance services for smart devices (smartphones and tablet devices) and to open up the Rakuten ecosystem,” the company said in a statement.

It has also been actively investing in “companies that have new technologies or innovative business models,” which has led to unrealized gains on stocks related to the investments.

The company recently kicked off its sponsorship of FC Barcelona, an agreement worth 55 million euros.

Rakuten does not generally release specific financial forecasts, but said that for 2017 it targets double-digit growth of consolidated revenue.

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