EBay, the global leader in Internet auctions, plans to lay off most of its workforce in Taiwan as it turns over its operations to a Taiwanese partner, a spokeswoman said Monday.
The company plans to continue competing in the Taiwan market by joining forces with local Internet portal operator PCHome Online, which also runs its own auction site. The two companies have agreed to shut down their own websites once their joint auction site is up and running, sometime within the next few months. PCHome will run day-to-day business at the new venture.
“We’ll lay off most of our workforce, but some of them may be able to find work at the new company,” said Angel Cheng, spokeswoman for eBay Taiwan.
The company currently employs about 40 people in Taiwan. Some of the workers will remain on board to ensure customers make a smooth transition to the new Internet auction site. A domain name for the proposed site has not yet been decided upon, Cheng said, nor has a definite time for the handover.
She declined to comment on a reason for the decision, saying the company would hold a news conference when the joint auction site is ready to open.
A spokeswoman for PCHome said the two companies began working on the new site early this month. PCHome opened its own Web auction site a year ago. The company makes money by selling ads for the site, not charging a fee for users.
“Both sites will continue to exist until our discussions with eBay are concluded,” said Joyce Tzeng from PCHome.
EBay entered Taiwan’s Internet auction market in 2002 with the US$9.5 million purchase of NeoCom, which operated two popular websites: www.uBid.com.tw and www.Bid.com.tw.
The U.S. company has had trouble adapting to business in Asia. EBay exited the most lucrative market in Asia, Japan, in 2002 after being handily beaten by rival Yahoo Japan. Yahoo is one of Taiwan’s top Internet auction site operators.
Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service (Taipei Bureau)
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