• United States
by Dan Nystedt

EBay Mobile goes live in Taiwan

Mar 30, 20063 mins
Network Security

EBay and Taiwan Mobile launch eBay Mobile, which lets users buy and sell goods online without using a PC.

Internet auction operator eBay and Taiwan Mobile, one of Taiwan’s largest cellular phone service providers, Thursday launched eBay Mobile, offering new ways for users to buy and sell goods online without using a PC.

“If a user is keeping an eye on a product they’re bidding for on eBay, they won’t have to wait at home in front of their computer any more. With eBay Mobile, they could use their cellular phone instead,” said Julian Wang, country manager of eBay Taiwan, at a news conference.

Taiwan is the third place in Asia where eBay Mobile has been launched, behind Hong Kong and Singapore. The companies are working with a popular local magazine to try to make the service more interesting to users by offering products not found in Taiwan on the site.

Editors from TaipeiWalker, which is sold by the same publishers as Japan’s popular TokyoWalker, comb the streets of Tokyo in search of items Taiwanese users might like to buy but can’t find in Taiwan. Many products are launched in Japan before the rest of Asia due to its huge, developed market, and some Japanese goods simply aren’t sold in other parts of the region. But in Taiwan, as elsewhere in Asia, there is a huge appetite for Japanese products.

Over 200 items are already offered on the eBay Mobile site, including collectible Japanese toys, Burberry purses, a Paul Smith iPod pouch and a Japanese-made music mixer designed to be used with iPod digital music players. The companies plan to add new products to the site every day.

Another benefit eBay Mobile may have for Taiwan could be increased interest in 3G mobile phone service in Taiwan, the companies said in a news release. Mobile phone network operators globally have been trying to find new services to attract users to 3G.

“Mobile commerce hasn’t been that big in Taiwan, so we’re positioning this as the start of mobile commerce,” said Jeff Ku, a vice president at Taiwan Mobile. The company has around 300,000 subscribers to its 3G service now, he said, adding that users with General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), an earlier generation of service than 3G, can also use the site.

The companies chose Taiwan as a likely place for eBay Mobile to succeed due to the high penetration rate of mobile phone users on the island, they said. With a population of around 23 million people, there are 19.8 million mobile phone accounts on the island, according to the Taiwan government. As of Jan. 31, there were 1.46 million 3G users in Taiwan.