TOKYO, January 27, 2010 -- Rakuten, Inc. (“Rakuten”, Tokyo, Jasdaq: 4755,), and Baidu, Inc. (“Baidu”, Beijing, Nasdaq: BIDU) are pleased to announce that they have today reached an agreement on the establishment of a joint venture through which the two companies jointly operate an Internet shopping mall in China.
Baidu, founded in 2000, is the world’s largest Chinese language search engine. In addition to its web search platform, Baidu also hosts a range of popular community-oriented products and services, including Baidu Knows, Baidu Post-Bar, Baidu Encyclopedia, and many others.
Rakuten is a full-line Internet service company in Japan. It operates Rakuten Ichiba, Japan’s leading Internet shopping mall, and is ranked 2nd in the global B2C e-commerce companies. Its leading position in the market is based on its extensive product line-up, including over 47 million items registered on Rakuten Ichiba, and the business expertise that it offers to merchants, especially its e-commerce platform technology and consulting capabilities.
Rakuten and Baidu have reached an agreement on the establishment of a joint venture through which the two companies jointly operate a B2B2C Internet shopping mall for consumers in China. The two companies plan to create the joint venture with capital of approximately ¥4.3 billion (total for the first 3 years, 1 RMB=13.11JPY ). Rakuten will own a 51% shareholding and Baidu 49%.
Rakuten and Baidu intend to begin providing services through the new company in the second half of 2010, subject to grant of related licenses and permissions from authorities. By combining Baidu’s excellent marketing capabilities in China with Rakuten’s e-commerce platform technology and consulting expertise, the two companies aim to develop this new one-stop service into the leading B2C Internet shopping mall in China. Initially, wide variety of goods will be sold to Chinese consumers at competitive prices by small and medium sized enterprises as well as the leading Chinese and global brands. In the future. Rakuten and Baidu will also consider the sale of items from Japanese merchants under a tie-up with Rakuten Ichiba in Japan.
The number of Internet users in China reached 384 million, or top in the world at the end of 2009 (Source: CNNIC, Internet World Stats). Currently e-commerce markets in China are led mainly by C2C. However, the B2C e-commerce market is expected to expand substantially and rapidly. Rakuten and Baidu also hope to contribute to the development of the B2C e-commerce market in China, while supporting economic growth in both Japan and China.
Baidu, Inc. is the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. As a technology-based media company, Baidu aims to provide the best way for people to find information. In addition to serving individual Internet search users, Baidu provides an effective platform for businesses to reach potential customers. Baidu's ADSs, each of which represents one Class A ordinary share, are currently trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "BIDU."
In Japan, Rakuten has approximately 60 million registered members and sales in 2008 totaled US$2.7 billion. Its core business “Rakuten Ichiba” is the Japan’s largest Internet shopping mall and offers more than 47 million products by over 30,000 merchants, some of whom have turnover of more than US$1 million per month. As well as its Internet shopping mall, Rakuten, which has more than 7,000 employees, is engaged in other Internet businesses such as travel agency and financial services.