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eBay in Japan, sort of...

by Georgina Adam

Leading online auctioneer eBay has established a Japanese subsidiary and will be setting up a Japanese site shortly, the company has announced. eBayís Senior Manager for International Public Relations Russell Brady told us that a fully localized site run by Japanese management will be launched "in the near future". At present eBay offers some help pages in Japanese; the new site will be entirely in Japanese but items from foreign sellers will be described in English. The company claims it already has "thousands of Japanese users".

Asked about how buyers will pay (Japan is still largely a cash-based society) and how the items traded will be shipped, Brady said that payment details "will be announced" and indicated that "eBay is a person-to-person trading site. Itís up to the buyer and seller to work this out, although eBay will of course provide an infrastructure to make this easy." As for import restrictions, he noted "once a local site is up and running, the vast majority of trade will be done within the country - not internationally."

He would not be drawn into any predictions on the subject of high-ticket items, preferring to refer to eBayís Great Collections website. Brady, who is long on enthusiasm but short on hard detail, concluded with a rousing message : "We think Japan is going to be an excellent market for us: it has a trading culture, a vibrant collector community and a consumer population that increasingly looks for value. We think all this will add up to success for us."

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