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eBay Teams Up With Yahoo For Return to Japan

eBay's hoping the second time will be the charm.

eBay on Tuesday announced that it has partnered with Yahoo Japan in a cross-border trade agreement, marking the return of the world's biggest online auction house to a market that it exited five years ago.

Starting Tuesday, visitors to Yahoo Japan, the most heavily trafficked site in that country, will be able to bid on items listed on eBay.

The product of the partnership will be a new site, Sekaimon.com, which will make all of eBay's inventory available in Japanese, something eBay is counting on to level one of the most significant obstacles to its sales overseas. Managing the site will be Shop Airlines, a Japanese company and a subsidiary of Netprice.com, an online sales services provider.

The three companies will share revenue from advertising and shipping fees, said eBay spokesperson Jose Mallabo.

Shop Airlines will perform the translation of the site, and oversee the shipping, payments and customs operations.

eBay has been looking to revitalize its Asian presence through similar deals signed with locally operating partner sites, hoping to leverage their expertise in the market and already-established base of loyal users. Mallabo feels that this time around in Japan, eBay is going to get it right.

"We're going in with a lot that we've learned, going in with two partners that know the market very well," he toldInternetNews.com. "This gives us a nice entrée back into the market."

Inevitably, the agreement raises questions about a larger partnership between eBay and Yahoo, even a potential merger as the two companies fined themselves competing with Google in several sectors of their respective businesses.

Mallabo cautions that that line of speculation is premature. At its core, he says, this agreement is simply a way to break down trade barriers and reintroduce eBay to the world's second-largest e-commerce market.

As for the suggestion that eBay's deteriorating relations with Google could drive it closer to a larger strategic alliance with Yahoo, Mallabo demurs, claiming that Google and eBay have been "good partners."

eBay is now open for business in 38 markets around the world.