Web Auctions Take Off in Korea

With the growing interest in online auction, Internet auction sites are enjoying a rapid growth in Korea, in terms of both the number of users and trading volume.

Industry sources said that thousands of Netizens newly register on such local Internet auction service daily, and the transactions through the auction sites are increasing steadily.

Internet Auction, one of the most popular auction sites in Korea, has recently secured more than 50,000 registered users, showing a 150 percent increase compared with December 1998’s 20,000 users. Around 1,000 users newly register the auction site every day, according to company sources.

MKmall’s auction service, operated by Cesscom Inc., enjoyed a 200 percent increase in the number of registered users in four months since December 1998 when the site had merely 5,000 registered users.

The Internet Auction Co. site displays a total of about 3,000 articles, with an average of 200 sold daily.

So far, the category of articles for the Internet auction are narrow and confined to such products as computers, computer peripherals, tools for industrial use and agricultural products; there is much room for improvement.

Currently, however, the articles for online auction are further diversifying. According to Internet Auction’s recent research, auctioned goods are consists of computer and peripherals (52 percent), home appliances (13.9 percent), kitchen utensils (9.4 percent), audio & video tapes (5.6 percent), sports & car related products (4.8 percent) and products for health and beauty (4.7 percent).

“Recently, users of online auctions are increasing rapidly because online auction users can purchase good articles at a cheaper price than stores on the street thanks to the abundant supply of goods for sale at the online auction.” said an official of Internet Auction Co., Ltd.

Industry analysts predict that, in Korea, it won’t be so long before the birth of large online auction service firms like Onsale Inc. and eBay.

However, Korea’s Internet auction sites, which are usually operated by online shopping malls, are placing more importance on increasing the number of mall visitors rather than on making money in the auction business itself.

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