eBay Places its Bid in Crowded Australian Auction Fray

Nine months after the first joint venture announcement, Australian Internet play ecorp and online auction giant eBay Monday officially launched its much-anticipated eBay Australia & New Zealand site.

The regional version offers local Australian categories and listings and trades in Australian dollars, as well as access to the general eBay site. eBay A&NZ will promote the Web site with by waiving the listing fees as part of an introductory offer.

“There are already thousands of Australians using eBay and we believe that the launch of eBay A&NZ will provide even greater opportunities for our loyal users and attract a new array of Australian collectors and traders,” said Daniel Petre, ecorp’s executive chairman.

ecorp formed the joint venture with eBay in February, and since its establishment the online auction fray in Australia has become an increasingly hot market.

eBay A&NZ will face competition from the regional version of uBid currently being developed by LibertyOne, which was expected to go live this month. Yahoo! Australia added auctions to its regionalized portal in May.

Local competitors include John Fairfax Holding’s auction venture Sold.com.au which launched in July, and Stuff Auctions. Even Western Australian mining company Hunter Exploration is in the picture, acquiring 31 per cent of the Australian arm of Nasdaq-listed e-Auction Global Trading last month.

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