eBay are said to be expanding their operations in China with a partnership with luxury goods site Xiu.com.
Reports say that eBay will announce the partnership at an event on the 12th of November in Shenzhen, China, where Xiu.com is based.
eBay haven’t got a great record in China, in fact to be blunt it’s absolutely abysmal. Under the Meg Whitman regime eBay acquired Eachnet, the then leading Chinese auction site. Alibaba took up the gauntlet with the launch of Taobao and beat eBay largely through intimate knowledge of the Chinese marketplace but helped enormously by the simple gambit of free fees for several years.
Something else Taobao got right was adding an instant messenger, this social feature was taken up by Chinese customer en masse and became a default communication tool. It’s rumoured that the Alibaba group may surpass eBay and Amazon’s combined worldwide sales by the end of this year.
Eventually eBay beat a retreat, and since taking the eBay helm in 2008 John Donahoe hasn’t done much with China, he’s had bigger problems such as turning around the eBay marketplace in the US and Europe. Now however, it would appear that eBay are ready for another crack at China.
This time around it’s said that eBay will focus on offering high end designer goods to Chinese consumers who have an insatiable appetite for the same. eBay’s recent raft of new retailers are already supplying new but end of line or last season goods and these combined with deep discounts are what eBay hope the Chinese will snap up.
Desirable designer goods at deep discounts could with a Xui.com partnership enable eBay to carve out a niche slice of the Chinese marketplace space whilst avoiding a direct showdown with the established players in China. eBay would supply it’s global inventory whilst Xiu.com would curate the content to display the most desirable products and handle the consumer payments (Sorry PayPal, you’ll probably miss out on this slice of eBay’s marketplace business).
We’ll be watching for announcements with interest and should have more news at the end of the week. In the mean time if you’re in San Jose, watch out for eBay’s G550 Gulfstream N159JA to take off and head for the Far East.