Ever expanding Facebook marketplace now available in Hong Kong

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They say that 550 million people are already buying and selling in Facebook groups and on the dedicated marketplace every month. And the Facebook Marketplace feature is already active in 64 countries around the globe already and that includes the newest addition Hong Kong.

The Facebook marketplace facility is enjoys increasing prominence on the website and also the mobile app, where it enjoys the distinction of being one of the most obvious tabs on the screen. It is also a delightfully easy proposition for a seller. All you need to provide is a photograph, some basic item details and a brief written description to clinch sales. As it stands, most use of the Facebook marketplace is local and you can buy most successfully from people in your locale.

From a merchant perspective, and where it falls down, is that it doesn’t have professional selling tools or means of listing items in bulk. There is no reasonable way of managing a stack of listings and administering sales on a significant scale. Fans will say that it is precisely because the Facebook marketplace stays small and local, that it is successful and charming. Profressionalisation would ruin the folksy vibe.

At the moment Facebook is under fire in the media and from politicians and pundits because of concerns about how it shares data with third-parties. In particular, its relationship with Cambridge Analaytica, and how it can be used as a vehicle for political campaigning and a source of fake news, is being scrutinised. Doubtless, the current situation has damaged Facebook but it is unlikely to strike a mortal blow.

And yet, indeed, the current challenges may spur the social network to reexamine how it can make money from its marketplace feature more effectively in future. If advertising revenues are impaired, they may seek to make money in other ways. The marketplace seems like an obvious opportunity.

As it stands the Facebook marketplace, in Hong Kong and elsewhere, is free for sellers. But it clearly has momentum and devotees already that puts it in pole position to be a real eBay challenger. But is that where Facebook’s ambitions lie, and even if so, would a Facebook-run marketplace be any better than eBay. Both are big American corporations that have gone public.

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