eBay launches free bilingual website for classified ads

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 July, 2012, 12:00am


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The world's leading provider of online classified advertising, eBay Classifieds Group, is expanding its operations in Hong Kong with the launch of a free bilingual platform, Kijiji.

Part of the United States-based eBay's consumer-to-consumer e-commerce empire, eBay Classifieds has established eight different brands for general online classifieds sites in more than 1,000 cities in more than 25 countries. These sites provide more than 25 million live listings and receive almost 65 million unique visitors each month.

Frances Chiu, general manager at eBay Classifieds Asia-Pacific, said Kijiji - pronounced 'kee-gee-gee' - was introduced this month to replace the outdated English-only Gumtree site that was set up in 2005, many years before the company opened its regional headquarters in Hong Kong.

'The old Gumtree site was quite vibrant among the English-speaking population, but we also want to capture the larger Chinese-speaking population with a brand they can connect with,' Chiu said.

The company hopes to create with Kijiji (from the Swahili word for 'village') a close-knit online community for trade in Hong Kong. It aims to help local buyers find bargains by encouraging the growth of the second-hand market and bartering.

'People live incredibly busy lives in Hong Kong, so simplicity is key to Kijiji,' Chiu said.

Kijiji offers categories including cars, jobs, professional services, pets, events and property. More will be added in future to meet users' needs.

Chiu said paid advertisements are prominently placed on the first page of each category but declined to give an estimate of revenue from such premium adverts.

'We expect Kijiji to record at least 100 per cent growth by the end of this year, from the current 70,000 unique visitors per month,' he said.

'The Hong Kong online classifieds market today is fragmented, with sites catering to specific categories, like jobs.

'We see more opportunities for our general online classifieds site because everything is in one place for people to find.'

Chiu said eBay Classifieds will also invest to build its technological capabilities in Hong Kong while expanding into other Asian markets. The group is also in Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

It also has a minority stake in Baixing, the top online classifieds service in Shanghai and Guangzhou.