CEO of eBay Devin Wenig targets Japanese market as company sets its sights on Asian expansion

  • Wenig also points to the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam as potential growth areas for the American multinational e-commerce giant
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2018, 11:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2018, 5:05am

The CEO of eBay said on Tuesday that the US e-commerce giant aimed to build up a “multibillion-dollar” business in Japan by offering a range of foreign items with competitive prices.

Devin Wenig also said that the company would expand operations in other parts of Asia, including the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, citing their growth potential, and that it was “always watching” for new business opportunities.

“We would like to be one of the top Japanese e-commerce sites,” said Wenig, pitching eBay’s strength in providing products at the “best” prices by taking advantage of its global inventory networks. “I think that will take some time, but our growth rate is very high.”

The company’s current sales levels in Japan sit around the US$1 billion mark.

We are still relatively small compared to the big guys
Devin Wenig, eBay CEO

In May, eBay completed the acquisition of Singapore-based Giosis’ Japanese business, including the Qoo10 online shopping platform, which has a membership base of 10 million users in Asia’s second-largest economy.

“We are still relatively small compared to the big guys” in the Japanese market such as Amazon, Rakuten and Yahoo Japan, Wenig said. “But there’s no reason given what we bring to Japanese consumers that we couldn’t be one of the tops.”

According to data from Japan’s industry ministry, the country’s e-commerce market grew 9.1 per cent in 2017 from a year earlier to 16.5 trillion yen (US$145 billion), in contrast to shrinking sales in department stores and supermarkets.

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The California-based eBay, which boasts 170 million active buyers around the world, first entered the Japanese market in 1999 to offer online auctions but was forced to pull out in 2002 owing to poor performance in harsh competition with Yahoo Japan.

Since 2009, eBay has been engaging in cross-border e-commerce business with small and medium-sized companies in Japan.