Monday, August 22, 2005

Why eBay Must Win In China

From Time Asia Magazine: Why eBay Must Win In China

"Whitman (CEO of eBay), in an e-mail interview with Time, says, "China is unique. It is growing rapidly, and it has a tremendous amount of potential, which is why we have made it a priority for the company."
Yet her Shanghai sojourn is not business as usual to anyone who is anyone in the booming e-commerce market in China. That includes the CEO of the local company giving eBay fits there, Jack Ma of Alibaba-Taobao. On Aug. 8, the Alibaba-eBay competition ceased being a David vs. Goliath battle. Ma announced he was selling a 40% stake in his company to Yahoo! for $1 billion."

"Meg made a big mistake coming here," he [Jack Ma] says with a smile. "I respect her for doing so, but the chief commander shouldn't be at the front line with the troops. It just causes confusion and panic."

Nice try, Jack. Whitman is in China because she knows the cost of failure could be astronomical. In 1999, technical problems delayed eBay's roll-out in Japan. That allowed Yahoo! to get a jump on the online shopping business in what has become the second largest e-commerce market in the world—a lead it has never relinquished. eBay pulled out of the market entirely in 2002, a move Whitman has rued ever since. She is not about to let the Japan debacle be repeated anywhere else, especially China (...) "

Read more:
Is eBay Dead in China?
China's New Internet King: Alibaba CEO Jack Ma
Yahoo! Positioned to be one of the Major Internet Entities in China
Fact Sheet on the Alibaba-Yahoo deal

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