EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 0 - September 26, 2006     6 of 7

Competitor Comments on eBay China Rumors

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Today AuctionBytes reported on published rumors that eBay is considering selling its China operations or looking for a local partner. eBay spokesperson Catherine England said the company does not comment on rumors or speculation, but said, "As you know, we are constantly evaluating our businesses to ensure we are operating as effectively as possible given local market dynamics and the needs of our local communities."

eBay has been battling with Chinese auction site, not only in terms of the marketplace, but on the public relations front as well. So it's not surprising that Alibaba was willing to comment on the rumors and put forth its own spin on what is happening in the China auction space.

In an email interview, Alibaba's Vice President of International Marketing Porter Erisman said he had been hearing for months from sources that eBay has been shopping its China operations around to various local Internet companies. "The real source of Ebay's woes in Asia is its inability to understand local market conditions in this part of the world."

As for the two companies rumored to be in talks with eBay, Erisman said, "Tencent and are good at what they do, but they are not e-commerce companies."

Not surprisingly, Erisman said he believes a sale to a local partner would help his company's Taobao marketplace: "eBay's headquarters will probably find that the only thing more difficult than coordinating with their current China team is coordinating with their new local partner."

The full interview with Erisman is posted on the AuctionBytes blog.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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