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Itochu gets serious about selling Japanese goods online in China

Trading house taking on Alibaba and by buying into startup Inagora

Funds from Itochu will help cross-border e-commerce startup Inagora expand its distribution network.

TOKYO -- Itochu and two partners are investing roughly 7.6 billion yen ($67.6 million) in an e-commerce venture selling Japanese goods to the Chinese market -- a move the trading house hopes will enhance its own forays into China's internet sector.

The Japanese trading house is investing around 4 billion yen into the Tokyo-based startup Inagora, with telecom KDDI and financial services company SBI Holdings providing the rest. Itochu previously invested around 100 million yen in the company and will now hold a roughly 20% stake, making it the second-largest shareholder behind founder and CEO Weng Yongbiao.

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