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Monday, 18 March, 2002, 05:36 GMT
EBay moves into China
EBay's Taiwanese site
EBay recently boosted its investments in Taiwan
Online auctioneer eBay, one of the few profitable internet start-ups, has announced its first move into the Chinese market.

The firm has paid $30m (21m) for a 33% stake in Shanghai-based EachNet.

EBay has an option to increase its stake in EachNet, an online trading firm that claims 3.5 million registered users.

The news comes less than a month after eBay's decision to pull out of Japan, where it had lost market share to rival Yahoo's auction site.

At the same time, the company boosted its operations in Taiwan, paying $9.5m for auction site operator NeoCom Technology.

Chinese opportunity

Like some of its online peers, eBay sees China as Asia's - or even the world's - key growth market for internet services.

EBay president and chief executive Meg Whitman said in a statement that e-commerce revenue in China was projected to grow "nearly twelvefold" to more than $16bn in the next 3-4 years.

The deal with EachNet, she said, was "an important step forward in eBay's strategy to build a truly global marketplace."

In January, the firm reported a net profit of $26m for the fourth quarter of last year.

EBay's shares have suffered since the hi-tech crash of two years ago, but have almost doubled since the beginning of 2001.

Kevin Purseglove, Ebay
"Ebay has been looking at a number of Asian markets for quite some time."
See also:

27 Feb 02 | Business
EBay pulls out of Japan
31 Jan 02 | Business
Sotheby's sides with eBay
15 Jan 02 | Business
Investors snub Ebay profits rise
17 Jan 02 | Business
The year e-tailers did so well
17 Dec 01 | Business
Ebay loses chief operating officer
31 Jul 01 | Business
Ebay sues fellow auction web site
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