eBay in Japan

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR282
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 2000-2007
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : eBay
Industry : Internet & E-Commerce
Countries : Japan

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"I am not one for regrets, but I still regret we don't have a presence in Japan."1

- Meg Whitman, CEO, eBay in 2008.

"When we arrived last year, the 800-pound gorilla [Yahoo Japan Auctions] was already positioned."2

- Merle Okawara, President and CEO, eBay Japan in 2001.

"I think eBay learned what it did wrong in Japan. Because of the nature of the auction model, I think it now understands that you have to be the leader in the market. I think it's a smart move for the company to have closed its site in Japan and to wait for another time when it can go in and do what it takes to be the leader there."3

- Lindsay Hoover, Vice President, Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin4 in 2002.

eBay Reenters Japan

In December 2007, eBay Inc. (eBay), the US-based online auction company, announced its reentry into Japan, through an agreement with US-based Internet services company, Yahoo! Inc.5 (Yahoo). eBay and Yahoo agreed to link their auction sites to facilitate cross-border bidding. This would enable the users of Yahoo Auctions Japan to bid for items listed on eBay's US site using their Yahoo Japan ID, and eBay users in the US to buy items auctioned on Yahoo Japan using their eBay ID. On Yahoo and eBay teaming up, Meg Whitman6, President and CEO, eBay, said, "We are excited to partner with Yahoo Japan in providing Japanese users with localized site designed to enable them to shop on the eBay marketplace with ease and convenience."7

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1] Erick Schonfeld, "Meg Whitman's Exit Interview,"TechCrunch, January 24, 2008.

2] "How Yahoo! Japan Beat eBay at Its Own Game,"BusinessWeek, June 04, 2001.

3] Joan Harrison, "Asian Advances, and a Retreat, for Online Auctioneer eBay,"Mergers & Acquisitions: The Dealermaker's Journal, April 2002.

4] Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin is a US-based investment bank. The services provided include mergers & acquisitions, financing, financing opinions, and advisory services. The firm was established in 1970 and has 13 offices spread across the world.

5] Yahoo! Inc., is a leading Internet services company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, USA. In 2007, its revenues were at US$ 6.7 billion.

6] Margaret C Whitman (Meg Whitman) announced that she would retire from eBay by March 2008. She was to be succeeded by John Donahoe.

7] "eBay, Yahoo Japan Team up Services,"www.taipeitimes.com, December 05, 2007.

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