China.com Promotes eBay’s Asian Trading Community

eBay, Inc. has lined up Hong Kong-based China.com (Nasdaq: CHINA) to help market its new eBay Chinatown trading community to Asian users.

eBay, with its brand firmly established in the United States, hopes to improve its international recognition by taking advantage of the reach that China.com has established across Asia. eBay Chinatown features Asian culture and provides a marketplace for a variety of Asian merchandise, such as jade jewelry, rugs, art work and consumer electronics.

Special Relationship

China.com placed links featuring eBay’s logo on its four Asian Internet portals: China.com, cww.com, hongkong.com and taiwan.com. Unlike many other click-through relationships, however, the eBay Chinatown icon on China.com’s home page does not just dump visitors onto a new Web site. Instead, it takes them to an introductory page on the China.com site that explains the eBay Chinatown site and why a visitor might want to go there.

China.com Director of E-Commerce Rudy Chan believes that the alliance will help eBay tap a potential new customer base that is relatively unfamiliar with online auctions. According to International Data Corporation, revenues from e-commerce in Asia topped $2.2 billion (US$) in 1999 and are expected to exceed $32 billion by 2003.

“The online auction format will no doubt be part of this anticipated growth, and chinadotcom corporation is thrilled to help bring eBay Chinatown to Asia,” Chan said.

A Flair for Building Membership

China.com finished 1999 with two million registered visitors, up from 400,000 on June 1st. The growth put China.com atop the heap of portal operators throughout the greater China region.

China.com also has plenty of money to keep driving new people to its site and, consequently, to eBay Chinatown. The company raised $391 million last week in a secondary public offering of 4.65 million shares of stock.

China.com employs a broad marketing campaign across the region, including television and outdoor ads in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. Special features on its portal sites offer continuing services that encourage visitors to keep coming back.

“The stickiness comes from the stages of site usage that we see from our members, which can first be initial site registration, then moving on to use chatrooms or message boards, and finally taking the step to purchase goods online. This is how we are building Asia’s online communities,” Chief Technology Officer Edward Hsu said.

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