Martyn Williams: EBay sees e-commerce potential in China

From The Industry Standard:

EBay Inc. executives this week called China the “largest e-commerce opportunity today” and reaffirmed the online auction company’s plans to invest US$100 million in the country during 2005.

“We are doubling down in China because the potential for Internet commerce in that country is simply extraordinary,” Meg Whitman, eBay’s chief executive officer, said at the company’s analyst conference in San Jose, California, on Thursday. China’s current online population already exceeds that of Germany and the U.K., two of eBay’s most important markets, and by 2009 is expected to surpass that of the U.S., she said in remarks that were webcast.

“Behind that growth will be 170 million middle-class households by 2010,” Whitman said. “In short, five to 10 years from now, (a company’s) share of e-commerce in China is likely to be the defining measure of business success on the Net.”

EBay entered China in 2002 when it bought one third of Corp. for $30 million. It acquired the remaining two thirds a year later for an additional $150 million and finished integrating the site with eBay’s international network in September last year. That integration means that products listed for sale at the eBay EachNet can appear on eBay sites in other countries, and vice-versa. EBay also added a number of new features to the service.


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