Chinese Internet firm Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) and Japanese e-commerce website Rakuten today announced an agreement to jointly invest USD 50 mln over three years in a joint venture to build a B2B2C online shopping mall for Chinese Internet users. B2B2C refers to an online marketplace that links and provides value-added services to both business-to-business and business-to-consumer.
The online mall will provide customers with high-quality merchandise from well-known Chinese and foreign brands as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises at competitive prices. Expected to go live in the second half of 2010, the mall is anticipated to be the largest online B2B2C shopping mall in China. According to the agreement, Rakuten will own 51% and Baidu will own 49% of the new joint venture.
Founded in 1997, and currently ranked 2nd in the global B2C e-commerce market, Rakuten operates Rakuten Ichiba, Japan's leading Internet shopping mall with over 30,000 participating merchants and over 47 mln items registered on its e-commerce platform.