BEIJING: Japan’s top Internet retailer Rakuten and its Chinese partner Baidu launched a new online shopping mall in China, despite heightened bilateral tensions between the two countries.
The virtual marketplace, called Lekutian, will offer goods such as apparel, fashion accessories, furniture, home electronics and appliances, digital equipment and cosmetics, the firms said in a joint statement.
The e-mall is operated by their joint venture, owned 51% by Rakuten and 49% by Baidu, while the two will jointly invest US$50mil (RM160mil) over three years in the business.
“We are bringing to market an innovative platform that allows retailers from around the world to create a fun and lasting direct relationship with Chinese consumers,” said Koichi Nakamura, Lekutian chairman and CEO.
The launch comes as anti-Japanese sentiment has been growing in China, with students rallying in the streets after a row broke out between the two countries over disputed islands last month.
“I don’t want to meddle in politics, but the two economic powers need to co-operate,” Rakuten president Hiroshi Mikitani said on the eve of the launch on Monday, while denying the dispute would have any impact on its business.
The spat began when Japan arrested a Chinese trawler captain on Sept 8 near the islands in the East China Sea, a conflict that intensified after Tokyo extended his detention 10 days later. — Relaxnews 2010
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