Wed, Jan 12, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Online portal forecasts jump in transactions

E-COMMERCE Yahoo-Kimo expects that online transactions will rise 51 percent this year from last year, as more people turn to the Web to buy goods

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Bolstered by Taiwan's fast expanding e-commerce market, online portal Yahoo-Kimo Inc (雅虎奇摩) said yesterday that it expects transactions to increase by 51 percent to NT$25 billion this year.

"We had a bumper year in 2004, and will surely keep growing on this basis," Charlene Hung (洪小玲), director of Yahoo-Kimo's e-commerce business service division, said at a press conference yesterday.

Citing statistics from the semi-official Market Intelligence Center (市場情報中心), Hung said online spending in Taiwan will reach NT$50.1 billion this year, up 44 percent from NT$22.1 billion last year.

Excluding spending on travel, including hotel bookings and flight tickets, Yahoo-Kimo secured a 60 percent share of the e-commerce market, with transactions hitting NT$16.5 billion last year, Hung said. The company is set to push that figure up to NT$25 billion this year, Hung added.

Most of that amount came from Yahoo-Kimo's auction site, which notched up NT$15 billion of transactions, even though the nation's largest online auctioneer switched to a fee-based service in April last year.

Yahoo-Kimo now charges its online sellers a listing fee of NT$3 per item. Although the number of listed products dropped significantly, the quality of the items has improved as a result of a reduction of redundant listings, Hung said.

Consumer electronics, clothing and accessories are the most popular items being sold via the platform, while food products have marked the largest growth, with a 200 percent jump in sales, its statistics showed.

"The Internet has become an important medium when making purchasing decisions, and therefore even traditional food manu-facturers such as Hsin Tungyang Co (新東陽食品) and Black Bridge Foods (黑橋牌食品) are trying to reach potential consumers via the channel," Hung said.

Moreover, many retailers now set prices in accordance with their virtual competitors to lure consumers back to their stores, Hung said.

To provide one-stop shopping, Yahoo-Kimo will integrate its auction site with two shopping sites this year, meaning users can look for products on the three sites using only one search, said Tony Chang (張鈺東), associate manager of Yahoo-Kimo's e-commerce business service.

In the future, Yahoo may even integrate its Taiwan, Hong Kong and China auction sites to allow users access to more products with competitive prices, Hung said, adding that the timetable has not been set yet.

Taiwan's second-largest online auctioneer is eBay Taiwan, which has lost ground to Yahoo-Kimo here, but beat out Yahoo-Kimo as the largest auctioneer in China after merging with Eachnet (易趣網).

To contend with eBay in the key market, Yahoo also partnered with www.sina.com (新浪), China's largest Internet portal.

"The auction business in China is in an early stage, so I think we still have a lot of potential to exploit the massive market," Hung said.

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