Chinese search firm Baidu and Japanese e-commerce website Ratuken have announced plans to invest $50 million on an online shopping mall in China.
The venture, 51% invested by Ratuken and 49% by Baidu, will go live in the second half of 2010, Baidu announced Wednesday.
It is aimed at both business and consumers and would provide “high-quality merchandise”.
Credit Suisse said in a research note that it expected the venture to target high-end customers. It said that while Rakuten Ichiba has 30,000 participating merchants in Japan, rival Taobao has more than 2 million in China.
The research note said that according to Baidu, the partnership between both parties had not yet been finalized.
It said the biggest challenge would be to provide a “trustworthy payment platform and high quality fulfillment system in China.” Baidu has developed its own payment platform, called Baifubao, but it has minimal market share, and the company has no logistics capabilities.
Rakuten was founded in 1997 and is Japan’s largest e-commerce provider.