RealTime IT News

eBay Enters Taiwan Market, Exits Japan

Moving to strengthen its position in the Asian market, auction operation eBay Inc. is acquiring NeoCom Technology Co. Ltd., a Taiwan-based operator of several auction sites, in a $9.5 million deal.

At the same time, an eBay spokesman was quoted in published reports as saying that "we have decided to exit the Japanese market for now." eBay Japan trails Yahoo! in that market. The eBay spokesman did not rule out a re-launch in Japan down the road.

NeoCom introduced person-to-person trading in Taiwan when it launched in October of 1998 and operates the uBid.com.tw and Bid.com.tw. And this deal might make it easier for eBay to launch into China when the opportunity arises, although analysts have said distribution there remains a problem.

eBay said the transaction is not expected to have a significant impact on eBay's 2002 net revenues. However, operating expenses are expected to reduce eBay's earnings per diluted share, on both a US GAAP and pro forma basis, by approximately one cent during the second quarter of 2002.

"This is a great match for us and an important step forward in our strategy to establish a presence in the world's top e-commerce markets," said Meg Whitman, eBay president and CEO.

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay said that as a result of the deal, consolidated pro forma earnings per diluted share should range between 31 cents and 32 cents for the first half of 2002, and between 69 cents and 72 cents for the full year.

eBay took a majority stake in Internet Auction Co. Ltd., Korea's largest auction Web site, for approximately $120 million about a year ago. eBay also has sites in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Taiwan is said to be the ninth largest e-commerce market with more than 6.5 million people online.

Meanwhile, a little closer to home, Playboy Enterprises Inc. said it will establish a storefront on eBay to sell proprietary Playboy apparel, barware, autographed memorabilia, collectibles and jewelry. The move comes after a successful test with a 'soft launch' in late 2001.