RealTime IT News

Ricardo Begins Global Roll-out with UK Auction Site

European auction channel Ricardo announced Tuesday a major expansion, beginning with the launch of goricardo.co.uk.

The market leader in Germany and claiming half a million registered users, Ricardo plans to launch in the Netherlands, France and Italy within the next three months.

"There has already been a tremendous response from traders throughout the U.K. and thousands of retailers have input product for auction," said Joe Wilson, managing director of goricardo.co.uk.

Wilson added that private individuals would be encouraged to participate from early February. He said that goricardo.co.uk had divided the UK into six main geographic regions, each with a dedicated Regional Trading Manager who would approach local businesses directly.

"goricardo.co.uk will demonstrate that the trading of goods over the Internet is not something for 'other people', it is a reality now," said Wilson.

Looking to its global future, Ricardo has bought the top Dutch auction site Veiling.com, and taken a 17.5 per cent stake in Singapore's online auction channel, Similan.com, with an option to increase its stake.

Eckhard Pfeiffer, chairman of the board of Ricardo, said that companies that positioned themselves at the forefront of Internet commerce today would grow to become as powerful as the top hardware and software firms.

In the U.K., Ricardo will be starting a multi-million-pound advertising campaign in February, with extensive radio advertising to capture local users.

Stefan Wiskemann, one of the co-founder's of ricardo.de, explained the company's whole philosophy as "thinking globally but acting locally."

"We believe that winning Europe is winning country by country and we are confident that this strategy will ensure our global success," said Wiskemann.

The news of Ricardo's launch follows a shake-up in the U.K. Internet auction market this week, with Newsquest dropping its AuctionHunter brand in favor of making an investment in Freeserve Auctions Limited.