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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How did Ebay lose China?

While I was in China, I heard conflicting rumors about Ebay's exit from China, and coverage of this exploded around 9/26 (when I was in transit back from Hong Kong).

  • Om Malik (coverage here) speculates that Ebay spent over $500 mm in cost and opportunity cost after factoring in the $130 mm purchase price of Eachnet, operating expenses, lots of Meg Whitman time in China, and global buyer resentment about the free ride for the domestic China seller (Om Malik here).
  • Also covered in TechCrunch here about the widely circulated but unconfirmed news that Whampoa was taking this on with a significant cash infusion. My independent sources claim that many better acquirers (e.g. Tencent, Netease, Sina, etc.) passed on this deal before got a bite at it.
  • Here's Pacific Epoch's take and an earlier rumor about a Tencent investment/acquisition, and Silicon Beat's take.
  • AuctionBytes reports on the belief that this is a Yahoo! strategy (honorable retreat).
But all this happened 2 weeks ago, and there has been no follow up or confirmation. But the real question is: How did Ebay take an early 70% market share and find themselves with few strategic options in a market they deemed a "failure is not an option" geography?

I'll keep updating this page as I hear more or see more news. And I hope there is some better analysis of What Happened?

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