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eBay France Launches on Thursday

[London, ENGLAND] Online trading community eBay says it will launch its French site, ebayfrance.com, on Thursday, October 5, after a final phase of testing.

It has taken a while for eBay to invade the French market, despite the fact that founder Pierre Omidyar was actually born in France. The new venture follows country-specific sites in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Japan and Australia.

French users will be able to bid for French items such as Napoleonic coins and Tintin comics, as well as the 5 million items listed on eBay worldwide. Clearly, it will take a week or two to build up a substantial quantity of French-sourced collectibles, for which users can bid in francs.

Meg Whitman, president and chief executive, eBay, said the launch of eBay France brings the company's successful online trading model to another of the world's top Internet markets.

"The site will allow French users to trade locally while also giving them access to eBay's worldwide community of 15.8 million registered users. No other Web site offers French traders a proven local service with a global reach," said Whitman.

eBay France hopes to entice users quickly by waiving all listing fees for an initial period. It has built categories for many popular French collectibles and has introduced a search facility for items located in France.

Local chat boards including the eBay Cafe will provide a forum where French users can get together and discuss their hobbies and interests.

The launch of eBay in France comes just a month after Amazon launched its own French outlet Amazon.fr. Some observers this week have questioned whether the complementary aspects of eBay and Amazon will lead to a merger of the two e-commerce giants.



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