We all know that eBay loves it some China. Well, soon it will be easier for China to love eBay back. eBay will launch PayPal in the electronic-payment-challenged country “within the year.” The Motley Fool said this of PayPal’s impending China debut: “It’s a proven entity that now seems likely to enter an unproven yet potentially riveting new region.” But the folks at Alibaba.com, which owns Taobao.com, eBay’s top China competition, aren’t exactly shaking in their boots. Said Alibaba spokesman Porter Erismann, “We’re ready, we’re prepared and not very concerned because they’ve got a lot of catching up to do.” Oh snap! The online auction site gloves are off!
Earlier this year, Alibaba launched AliPay, an online payment system that partners with four of China’s largest banks and allows customers to pay by Visa card, wire transfer or online transfer from a bank account. Another new electronic payment system is offered by a company called SmartPay Jieyin, Ltd. SmartPay links your bank account to your mobile phone number and bills are sent directly via SMS. Reply and SmartPay deducts the payment from your bank account and shifts the funds to the seller.
This story says eBay “dominated” Chinese online auctioning in 2004, owning 80 percent of the market. And in this story Alibaba claims that Taobao, which unlike eBay doesn’t charge user fees, has surpassed eBay in the consumer market. Confused? It’s expected to get even more confusing soon, as the company responsible for Chinese instant messaging giant QQ is set to launch its own auction site.
eBay has said it plans to invest $100 million in China in 2005, and in five to 10 years the company expects China to become its second-largest market in the world, behind the United States. Earlier this year, eBay launched Kijiji, a foreign-language online classifieds site similar to Craigslist and they have been gobbling up global classifieds sites ever since. Who did eBay tab to run its Kijiji operations in China? Why, none other than Shanghai blogger Wang Jian Shuo.
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