Thursday, March 31, 2005

Ebay Aims to Conquer China but Homegrown Rival Taobao Tries to Repel the American Invasion

From Forbes.com: Standing Up to Ebay

"Ebay has conquered online auctioning, racking up $778 million in profit last year on a transaction volume of $34 billion. But Ebay won't stay on top unless it also conquers what eventually will be the world's largest market for online goods:China."

"Ma (Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba) runs the Taobao consumer auction site, the biggest homegrown rival to Ebay in China. Though it didn't start up until a year after Ebay arrived, Taobao quickly has gobbled up 41% of online auction sales, compared with Ebay's 53%; it has 4 million registered users, gaining on Ebay's claim of 10 million customers in the country."

"Ma also runs Alibaba, which claims to be the world's largest global business-to-business auction site. Six million members use the main site, devoted to in-China trade, and a second site for trade with companies in the rest of the world. Alibaba and Taobao, which are controlled by Ma's Alibaba Holdings, aim to fence out Ebay, setting themselves up for expansion beyond China's borders. If JackMa has his way, Taobao--not Ebay--will end up conquering the online world."

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