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eBay to pump US$100m into China operations
US-BASED eBay Inc has reiterated its plans to invest US$100 million this year to beef up its China operations.
At eBay’s annual financial-analyst conference in San Jose, California, in February this year, which outlined the company’s future global business strategies, eBay president and CEO Meg Whitman reportedly said the investment could help promote eBay EachNet in China through product development, customer support and advertising.
With registered users reaching 10 million and gross merchandise volume (GMV) exceeding US$300 million, eBay EachNet could potentially sustain its edge over competitors like Yahoo! Corp, Sina Corp and Hong Kong’s Alibaba.com Corp.
Acquired in phases from US company Net.com Corp since 2002 for US$180 million, the website company was integrated into eBay Inc’s global network last September.
Whitman sees a huge growth potential for e-commerce in China, where the online population is expected to hit 170 million middle-income households by 2010, outnumbering that in Germany, the UK and the US. eBay has also registered business growth in its 99.7%-owned Internet Auction Co in South Korea. Observed to be growing faster than other Korean
e-tailers, the latter’s GMV was US$1 billion at last count. One in two Koreans aged 20-40 is a registered Internet Auction Co user.
Conversely, eBay’s service in Japan closed in March 2002 after two years in operation, largely due to stiff competition from Yahoo! Corp and other local companies.
eBay’s services are also present in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan and Singapore. With 27 million users and 100 million listings in the region alone last year, the company’s revenue grew to US$157 million in 2004.