Japanese e-Commerce retailer Rakuten plans to launch an internet shopping mall in Malaysia, Rakuten Online Shopping, to introduce Malaysian customers to an entirely new and unique online shopping experience.

Rakuten Online Shopping will expand the retailer’s footprint in South East Asia, marking its third e-Commerce market entry in the region, following Indonesia’s Rakuten Belanja Online in 2011 and TARAD.com in Thailand in 2009.

The new service aims to offer consumers in Malaysia the best local and international goods while employing Japan’s customer service standards.

The online retailer said it is currently recruiting merchant partners to populate its online shopping mall leading up to its launch in late 2012.

Rakuten Online Shopping president and chief executive officer Masaya Ueno said the company empowers merchants with the platform, tools and know-how they need to run successful online businesses.

"We also enable them to customize their storefronts to maximize their own brand appeal and allow them to communicate directly with their customers. This flexibility and interaction bring the online shopping experience to life and puts the fun back in shopping," Ueno said.

"Malaysia is an attractive market owing to its economic stability and well-equipped infrastructure for the development of e-commerce, including Internet, logistics and online payment facilities.

"Malaysia market growth and encouraging online shopping trends present Rakuten with a bright opportunity in this market.

"At this initial phase, Rakuten seeks to partner mid-sized and large retailers across industries in Malaysia including fashion and apparel, IT and electronics, books and luxury goods."

In 1997, Rakuten launched its e-Commerce platform in Japan, Rakuten Ichiba, which utilizes a business to business to consumer model, whereby merchants build online storefronts on the marketplace and sell directly to consumers.

In April 2012, Rakuten has launched an internet shopping mall, Rakuten.com.br Shopping, in Brazil with the aim to expand its merchant base to 800 with 2,000,000 items by the end of the year.