Japan e-commerce retailer Rakuten (4755.TSE) announced that it will discontinue its online shopping mall in partnership with Baidu (BIDU.Nasdaq) due to tough competition and underperforming sales, MarketWatch reported. Rakuten, Japan’s biggest e-commerce retailer, launched its Chinese online shopping mall Lekutian in October 2010. The site will close at the end of May, owing in part to competition from Alibaba Group’s (listed subsidiary Alibaba.com; 1688.HKG) online shopping search engine, Etao. Rakuten will write off its total investment of 860 million yen (US$10.5 million) in the site in the fiscal quarter which ended in March. The Japanese retailer said it expects the closure to have only a minor impact on overall earnings for this year. Baidu said it is “still in the midst of discussing what we’ll do following this decision,” and added that its main concern is the 50-odd Lekutian employees in China.