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eBay goes for Chinese payment takeaway

Wants Paypal accepted
Wed Jun 19 2013, 09:49
eBay is eyeing up a lucrative Chinese market

INTERNET AUCTION WEBSITE eBay wants to be the first US company to roll out an online payment system in China and is confident that its mandatory Paypal service will make it.

The firm is trying to get into a market that is dominated by local players. Google is the second most used search engine in China after Baidu, and most of China's 1.35 billion people prefer to shop with Chinese merchants.

According to Reuters, eBay has had some good news, and reckons that it will be the first US firm to pop a bottle of celebratory champagne in the glorious People's Republic of China.

So far eBay CEO John Donahoe is predicting that China will accept Paypal, and he spoke of the likelihood during a Reuters technology summit in San Francisco.

"I am confident that Paypal will be the first non-domestic company to get a payments licence in China. That could be in three months or five years," he said, vaguely hedging his bet.

"The evidence would suggest that a non-Chinese company is at a disadvantage. We have chosen not to compete aggressively. Over time you'll see the Chinese domestic economy try to connect with the global one."

eBay launched in China almost a decade ago, but pulled out in 2006. This was despite buying into a Chinese partner and plunging a lot of money into marketing. It still does business in the country that's worth around $6bn, though.

While he was at the technology summit Donahoe was asked about PRISM snooping in the US. He said that there is some balancing of interests that must take place.

"It's appropriate for us to have a bit of a national dialogue and debate on privacy and on cybersecurity. And just so that what sometimes goes unspoken gets spoken," he said.

"We're trying to make sure that all of our privacy policies and how we comply stand up to the spotlight. As the digital world becomes more of our everyday lives, there will be more opportunity and need for more of a dialogue." µ


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