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US Giant eBay Loses Ground to Taobao
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The Chinese market share of US e-commerce giant eBay plunged to a record low last year as local rival gained further ground, according to an industry report.


China IntelliConsulting Corp, founded by Internet industry analyst Lu Bowang, said yesterday that eBay's share in the Chinese consumer-to-consumer e-commerce market in 2006 was 15.4 percent.


That was in sharp contrast to its 29.1-percent market share in 2005, according to another survey conducted by Lu a year ago. This year's survey was done in the first three months and involved 4,000 online traders in five cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Wuhan.


Local rival Taobao, a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba, partly owned by Yahoo!, rose from 67.3 percent to 82 percent in the period.


The situation is a reversal of that three years ago when the US giant held an overwhelming majority of market share in China., the online trading arm of the largest Chinese instant messaging firm Tencent, was third with just 2.7 percent of the market share.


"Even I didn't expect the market shares of eBay and Paipai to be so low," said Lu, who has been researching Chinese dotcoms since 2001.


Chinese joint venture Tom Eachnet, which was formed in December and is expected to run eBay's trading business, declined to comment, but said the new trading platform will start operation in the middle of 2007 and will launch localized and richer services.


And 24 percent of sellers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou said in the survey that they planned to open new online stores on Taobao in the next six months, while only 8 percent chose eBay China and 10 percent Paipai.


Up to 26 percent of sellers said they would close their shops on eBay China's website, compared to 7 percent on Taobao and 12 percent on Paipai.


(China Daily April 17, 2007)


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