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ViSenze, a NUS Spin-off Company, Partners with Rakuten to Create Visual Search Driven E-Commerce in Taiwan



ViSenze, a NUS Spin-off Company, Partners with Rakuten to Create Visual Search
                         Driven E-Commerce in Taiwan

PR Newswire

SINGAPORE, July 3, 2013

SINGAPORE, July 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ViSenze Pte Ltd (www.visenze.com)
today announced that it has partnered with Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba, Inc., a
subsidiary of Rakuten Group to launch a state-of-the-art visual fashion search
and recognition service on Rakuten's social and shopping sites in Taiwan.
ViSenze is a NUS spin-off company that has developed intelligent visual tools,
which provide visual search, match and recommendation functions on web and
mobile platforms.

In this new partnership, ViSenze's technology is powering the novel Fashion
Finder application on two sites (www.oshare.com.tw and
www.rakuten.com.tw/event/funsearch). This allows users to search and buy
similar fashion items that they see on the sites, from user-generated photos
and from user-uploaded images, which could be taken from fashion websites or
e-magazines.

"Rakuten is always on the look-out for like-minded partners and innovative
technologies to accelerate our business. We are very excited to embark on this
promising partnership with ViSenze, as we truly believe the new retail
experience, powered by the Internet, is characterised by discovery! As the
first in Taiwan to roll out this feature, we cannot wait to see how our
customers in Taiwan will react. Rakuten looks forward to offering this unique
feature to our customers in other parts of Asia and beyond," said Mr. Toru
Shimada, Senior Executive Officer and CEO of Rakuten Asia.

Mr. Yuichi Ejiri, Executive Officer of Rakuten & CEO of Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba
Inc. said, "At Rakuten, shopping is entertainment! We are all about offering
personalised, online fashion discovery experiences to our customers so Oshare
and the new visual-powered form of e-Commerce with Rakuten Fashion Finder will
do just that. With just a click, our shoppers can now search what they want to
buy with images instead of words. They can also find out where to buy what
their favourite celebrities are wearing or carrying. ViSenze truly makes
shopping entertaining!"

ViSenze's intelligent visual search and recognition technology is engineered
to help digital businesses in e-commerce, online advertising, affiliate
marketing as well as social networks solve real-world challenges in an
exploding visual web world. Digital businesses and consumers benefit in a
number of ways from ViSenze's technology:

  o Similarity Search enables e-commerce companies to let their customers find
    what they are looking for more efficiently. When online shoppers browse
    the merchandise, they are subtly recommended visually similar items, based
    on category, style, colour, pattern – increasing the chances of converting
    discovery browsing into purchases.
  o Intelligent image matching tool allows users to upload photos from
    websites and e-magazines to find clothing, bags, shoes and accessories
    similar to those worn by their favourite celebrities, or to upload a
    picture of their desired fashion item and find the same or similar
    products.
  o Visual-contextual application helps advertising networks and exchanges
    analyse how online users engage with visual content on the web, in order
    to render contextual advertisements, or to re-target consumers with an
    advertisement based on images previously viewed.
  o ViSenze's cloud based multi-platform technology enables the above services
    to be made available to users on-the-go, at anytime and from anywhere, on
    web, mobile or social networking sites.

ViSenze differentiates itself from other visual search companies, as its
technology can recognise a wide range of key objects in images and isolate
them from a cluttered image background for more targeted analysis and
matching. This means that ViSenze is able to handle different types of images,
including those with complex backgrounds, as well as also perform accurate
recognition and matching to visually related or similar products. This
capability enables the company to deploy its technology quickly to different
verticals, through rapid and adaptive machine-aided learning techniques, and
generate intelligent visual driven business analytics to help enterprise
clients make sense of how their visual assets are used.

In addition to Rakuten, ViSenze's cloud based technology has also been
deployed on Singapore-based Clozette (www.clozette.co), a fashion social
shopping network that is using ViSenze's technology to offer "find and buy
similar" recommendation for fashion items.

"ViSenze aims to unlock the intelligence in visual content and create
innovative visual search applications for different businesses across
different platforms. We are proud to partner Rakuten and Clozette as they
validate the successful application of our technology to the fashion industry.
We have started developing new application solutions to other verticals such
as automotive and consumer electronics. Additionally, we are developing a
contextual visual search driven recommendation engine and expanding our visual
based analytics capability," said Mr. Oliver Tan, Chief Executive Officer of
ViSenze.

Technology developed within a University

ViSenze's search and recognition technology uses sophisticated techniques to
segment, detect, classify and recognise different objects in visual images or
videos. The technology was originally developed by the NUS-Tsinghua Extreme
Search Centre (NExT), a leading research centre jointly established by the
National University of Singapore (NUS) and Tsinghua University of China.
Unlike other image matching tools, ViSenze's technology analyses the visual
content to identify key objects of interest to users and their context. This
helps ViSenze's enterprise clients to understand which parts of images
resonate well with their end users and find relevant ways to engage with them
better.

ViSenze was founded in 2012, by four enterprising individuals: Mr. Roger Yuen,
a seasoned entrepreneur who serves as its non-executive Chairman; Mr. Oliver
Tan, who left the corporate world to serve as its full time CEO; Professor
Chua Tat Seng, the current co-Director of NExT who also serves as a
non-executive Scientific Advisor to ViSenze; and Dr. Li Guangda, the Chief
Technology Officer, who was the lead visual recognition researcher at NExT.
ViSenze also employs three other members of the original NExT team that
developed the technology.

"We are delighted to see such innovative technologies, which began their lives
in an NUS laboratory setting, commercialising successfully to solve real-world
challenges. I am also encouraged that a number of NUS faculty members have
also spun off to join ViSenze as this demonstrates their entrepreneurial
spirit and commitment in creating intelligent search solutions for digital
businesses around the world," said Dr. Lily Chan, CEO NUS Enterprise.

About ViSenze

Founded by web veterans and industry leading multimedia specialists, ViSenze
is a spin-off company from NExT, a research centre jointly established between
National University of Singapore (NUS) and Tsinghua University of China.
ViSenze's mission is to unlock the intelligence captured in any rich visual
content using sophisticated visual recognition technology and has created a
portfolio of innovative multi-platform solutions: ViSearch for intelligent
visual Search, ViContext for contextual analysis and recommendation, ViMobile
for mobile search and recognition, and ViSight for visual driven business
analytics. Through continuous large-scale rapid machine learning and practical
R&D based on real-world problems, ViSenze's technology helps today's digital
businesses address challenges in fast-growing visual content across web,
mobile and social media platforms. For more information, please visit
www.visenze.com. 

About Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755), is one of the world's leading Internet service
companies, providing a variety of consumer and business-focused services
including e-commerce, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money,
e-book, portal & media, online marketing and professional sports. Rakuten is
expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Western
Europe and North America. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo,
with over 10,000 employees worldwide. For more information, please visit
global.rakuten.com 

About NUS Enterprise

NUS Enterprise is a University-level cluster that provides an enterprise
dimension to NUS teaching and research involving the University's students,
staff and alumni. The functions of the Enterprise Cluster complement the
academic cluster of the University to nurture talents with an entrepreneurial
and global mindset. NUS Enterprise promotes the spirit of innovation and
enterprise through Experiential Education, Industry Engagement & Partnerships
and Entrepreneurship Support. For more information, visit
www.nus.edu.sg/enterprise

About Clozette

Clozette is a fashion social network where women can discover, shop and share
fabulous fashion and beauty finds and buys from around the world. It is also a
digital platform for fashion brands, retailers, designers and artisans to
engage and interact with consumers and fashion tastemakers. Driven by
user-generated fashion content, its high-engagement platform delivers
unprecedented insights and analytics about consumers' preferences and what is
trending in the world of fashion & style. For more information, please visit
www.clozette.co

SOURCE ViSenze Pte Ltd

Website: http://www.visenze.com
Website: www.rakuten.com.tw/event/funsearch
Website: http://global.rakuten.com
Website: http://www.nus.edu.sg/enterprise
Website: http://www.clozette.co
Website: http://www.oshare.com.tw
Contact: Oliver Tan (Mr), ViSenze Pte Ltd, Email: oliver@visenze.com; Chan Yiu
Lin (Ms), Greener Grass Communications (For NUS Enterprise), Mobile: (65)
9-765 5897, Email: yiulin@greenergrass.com.sg
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