Japanese internet titan Rakuten is displaying clear signals that it is looking to enter the US market in a big way.

Today TechCrunch revealed rumours of a deal to acquire online content company PopSugar. Headquartered in San Francisco, this purchase could form the latest in a string of efforts to tap into a potentially lucrative American audience.

While the purchase of a celebrity news site may seem like an unusual move by the Tokyo-based firm, the acquisition of PopSugar, if it comes to fruition, could prove to be a shrewd one for Rakuten.

PopSugar reportedly reaches around 41 million unique visitors per month and its advertising section claims an audience of affluent women looking to make purchases, making it an ideal platform for a company such as Rakuten to introduce and promote its marketplace in the US.

Exploring new markets

Rakuten is certainly not alone in its acquisition of US outlets to promote its products and explore new markets.

Earlier this year, Italian e-commerce site YOOX acquired US luxury e-commerce retailer Net-a-Porter, which includes content outlets The Edit and PORTER Magazine.

This deal is expected to close in September, merging the two companies and creating the world’s largest online luxury-goods retailer.

YOOX’s gain dealt a huge blow to Amazon who were reportedly looking to purchase Net-a-Porter themselves, hoping to add to an impressive collection of acquisitions, including Shopbob, online shoe retailer Zappos and Goodreads.

Breaking America

Despite being a huge enterprise in Japan and recognised throughout the Asian market, Rakuten is not relatively well-known in the US. However, if the rumoured deal with PopSugar does indeed go ahead, that may be about to change.

PopSugar would be just one of a series of purchases made by Rakuten which have allowed them to further explore the US market.

Last month, Rakuten purchased US digital content distributor OverDrive for $410 million, while the company recently exchanged  $300 million for a 11.9% stake in American ride-hailing startup Lyft.