PayPal, the online payments company, hopes to expand its presence in the city by aligning with domestic merchants but has no plans to offer services in Hong Kong dollars. The company, owned by auction giant eBay, has provided online payment services to shopping sites such as www.wgcshop.com , www.play-asia.com and www.digitalishop.com since 2001. It has also been available to eBay customers in Hong Kong since December 2003, when the auction site set up in the city. Michael Blum, PayPal's international senior manager, said the company wanted to expand business by adding partners such as web-hosting firms and retailers. 'We are in the process of figuring out some key partnerships in Hong Kong in the next month or so,' he said. But PayPal had no plans to offer services supporting Hong Kong dollar payments. 'Our objective is to continue to help Hong Kong merchants grow their export business,' Mr Blum said. 'In that regard, it is important that the consumer be able to pay the merchant in a currency they are familiar with. It would be quite difficult for a Hong Kong merchant to convince a US or European consumer to pay in Hong Kong dollars. They obviously prefer to pay in US dollars or euros, respectively.' Paypal supports payments in US dollars, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, euros, British pounds, and Japanese yen. 'Hong Kong merchants can withdraw all of their PayPal balances in any currency to a Hong Kong-based bank account, at which time funds are converted to Hong Kong dollars,' Mr Blum said. Paypal hoped to attract local merchants with its low fraud rate: 0.31 per cent of total transactions of US$5.6 billion in the fourth quarter of last year. This compared with a 1.5 per cent fraud rate at the top 150 e-commerce merchants in the US. 'We are targeting people who are active in e-commerce in Hong Kong,' he said. 'I rarely find a company in Hong Kong which is not willing to explore new business opportunities.'