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Taobao Triples Online Trade to Beat eBay
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Chinese e-commerce site Taobao.com has nearly tripled transaction volume in the first half to 15.7 billion yuan (US$2 billion), as people get more used to shopping online with improved payment systems, it said yesterday.


The site, which has beaten eBay Inc in the market over the past four years, also expanded its market share to 72.2 percent in the first quarter from last year's 65 percent, gaining a bigger lead over rivals, according to figures released yesterday by Shanghai-based IT consultancy iResearch.


Average daily trading volume on the site in May and June exceeded 100 million yuan - equal to peak times in 2006 when such big transactions spiked only during festivals such as Christmas, the weeklong May Day holiday and National Day holiday.


"Many companies have started to use Taobao as an important sales channel to reach consumers, which helped boost transactions," said Fu Xinghua, an analyst with Analysys International, a Beijing-based consulting firm.


In the first six months this year, nearly 8,000 companies applied to open an online store on Taobao in its business-to-consumer channel. Nearly 2,000 have been approved, including Motorola, P&G and computer accessory maker Logitech.


The number of its registered users has increased by 80 percent in the first half to 39.9 million, as "some older people are beginning to try shopping" online under the influence of their children, the site explained, without giving figures for different age groups.


Taobao, based in Hangzhou, capital of eastern Zhejiang Province, was founded in 2003 by Alibaba.com Corp, the nation's largest e-commerce company that helps match Chinese suppliers with overseas buyers on its platform. The site beat eBay Inc's China business, eBay EachNet, by charging no fees for traders, and forced eBay to handle control of its Chinese operation to a local partner in December last year.


(Shanghai Daily July 18, 2007)

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