Japan’s Index Corp. To Launch (Apparently Gigantic) Virtual Mall In China

Tokyo-based (and JASDAQ-listed) Index Corp. has decided to shake hands with Chinese retail giant Hualian to launch and run a large virtual shopping mall. Somehow surprisingly, Index, a leading mobile contents provider, will develop the site for China’s fixed web and not the country’s rapidly growing mobile web.
The main idea is to offer an online portal through which Chinese web users can buy products from local and foreign companies that wish to reach Chinese consumers. Index and Hualian announced the portal will be ready sometime next year.
Index says they’ll use the experience they gained from running an electronic points program in Japan for the Chinese site (shoppers will be able to collect points through buying products online or in the real world and redeem those points later for cash and other things).
So nothing really that interesting there. But Index and Hualian have big plans: The yet to be named virtual mall is expected to generate 500 billion yen ($5.37 billion) in sales per year in 2013. This means Index wants the joint venture to double Rakuten‘s sales numbers within three years, coming from zero (Japan’s No. 1 virtual mall generated “just” $2.6 billion in sales, mostly in Japan, in fiscal 2008). Call me dubious.
Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]

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