eBay China grows - but questions remain (Q1 2005 conf call quotes)

by: Ezra Marbach

eBay (ticker: EBAY) reported Q1 2005 results today. Here are key conference call quotes from CFO Rajiv Dutta and CEO Meg Whitman on eBay's progress in China, and some quick comments:

Rajiv Dutta - eBay - CFO, SVP:

....and in China, we continue to build on our success. We added 1.8 million CRU's in Q1, bringing the cumulative base to 11.6 million. Also, we reaped an annualized GMV level of nearly $400 million.

Meg Whitman - eBay - Pres, CEO:

....despite the seasonality associated with Chinese New Year, in Q1 the site….generated approximately $100 million in GMV, a year-over-year jump of more than 70%. Across all key measures eBay EachNet remains the number one e-commerce player in China.

....with regard to China, we look at a couple of different things. First is GMV. ..and then it's successful listings. Successful listings is a key metric because we compete against a free site there and so free sites typically have less than two or three or 5% conversion rates. So on GMV and successful listings we're doing really well. We noticed that they launched Alipay. I indicated at the analyst conference that we were excited about taking PayPal to China……and as you should know that we also do have a robust escrow offering in China....And that actually - - that adoption has gone up quite dramatically since we introduced it.

(Quotes are from the CCBN StreetEvents transcript.)

: Before you buy into the Whitman-Dutta PR machine, that eBay is dominating the Chinese online auction market, take a look at eBay #1 in China? No. But CEO Whitman says "yes". It is not that simple.

And, of course, the "they" that CEO Whitman uses in reference to the company that launched online payment system, Alipay, is Alibaba, a B2B marketplace. Alibaba's online auction company subsidiary is Taobao.com. The two represent eBay's homegrown competition. I guess it is not surprising that Whitman continues to avoid using the name of her foremost Chinese competitor.

And what about PayPal? Well, eBay has been talking about introducing the payment system in China for some time. And evey day that it is not introduced is another day that Alipay gains greater traction. Some have suggested that eBay might be forced to buy Alibaba, and Alipay, just as it did PayPal, after failing to launch a successful competitor. Rumor has it that eBay already failed to meet the asking price.

About this article:

Want to share your opinion on this article? Add a comment.
Disagree with this article? .
To report a factual error in this article, click here