Major online book retailer Amazon Japan K.K. is approaching retailers in preparation for opening an online shopping mall, company officials said Wednesday.

The entry of Amazon Japan, which has strong brand recognition, will increase competition in a market led by Rakuten Inc. and Yahoo Japan Corp. But the Japanese market is expected to grow, analysts said.

Amazon Japan is looking at what kinds of products to sell and the conditions to set for retailers, the officials said.

Amazon Japan aims to draw more customers to its site with an abundance of products and retailers, the officials said.

The parent company, Amazon.com Inc. of the United States, already operates an online shopping mall. Amazon began selling books online in Japan in November 2000.

In addition to books, Amazon Japan sells sports equipment, household electrical appliances and other goods. The company hopes its foray into online shopping will also boost its direct-sales business, the officials said.

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