Baidu Inc (Nasdaq: BIDU), the top Chinese search engine, and Rakuten Inc (JASDAQ 4755), Japan’s largest e-commerce company, launched a comprehensive online shopping service called “Lekutian” on 19th October 2010.
In January 2010, Rakuten and Baidu announced their intention to jointly invest US$50 million over three years to build a new Chinese online retail destination.
Mr. Koichi Nakamura, Lekutian President and CEO, said:
“Through this joint venture, we are building not only the biggest online shopping mall, but we are bringing to market an innovative platform that allows retailers from around the world to create fun and lasting direct relationships with Chinese consumers. This sentiment is also expressed in our name: Lekutian is a combination of the Chinese words for Rakuten, and the word used by Chinese youth to express the English word, “cool.” Le = Happy / Ku = Cool / Tian = Day.”
Lekutian will offer a wide range of goods such as apparel, fashion accessories, furniture, home electronics and appliances, digital equipment, baby goods and cosmetics.
The website incorporates popular elements from Rakuten Ichiba including; special shopping “marathons,” a point rewards program and free shipping.
Lekutian is aggressively pursuing a policy of “borderless e-commerce” through acquisitions and joint ventures. In 2005, Rakuten first established a presence in the U.S. by acquiring LinkShare, a leading performance marketing company. In May, Rakuten undertook a joint venture with Global Mediacom in Indonesia. Rakuten then acquired PriceMinister and Buy.com in July. Both are leading e-commerce sites in their respective locations.