Online B2C JV seeks to take aim at Taobao

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Baidu Inc, China's biggest search engine, waded into the country's online retail market with a new joint venture as it takes aim at e-commerce leader

Baidu teamed up with Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc yesterday as it launched its online B2C platform Lekutian to tap the growing online shopping demand from more than 400 million Internet users in China.

Rakuten and Baidu announced their intention to invest US$50 million over the next three years to build the new website, which is 51 percent held by Rakuten and 49 percent by Baidu.

The volume of China's consumer e-commerce market is expected to climb to more than 1.5 trillion yuan (US$226 billion) by 2014, Deutsche Bank said in an August report.

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