PayPal going in-store
EBay Inc’s PayPal e-commerce payment business plans to let shoppers pay with its service in more than 2,000 Home Depot Inc stores by March, part of an effort to win customers away from credit-card companies. The company began a trial with shoppers this week in 51 of Home Depot’s home-improvement stores, primarily in the San Francisco area, PayPal spokesman Anuj Nayar said. It intends to extend the offer to all national locations, about 2,200 stores, he said. PayPal, the fastest-growing part of eBay, aims to maintain that expansion by moving into the offline world, challenging Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc on their home turf. While eBay said payment volumes from in-store terminals will be “immaterial” to next year’s financial projections, it expects to profit from the shift during the next three to five years. The in-store service introduced this week lets consumers purchase items at checkout with a PayPal card or with a telephone number and pass code. PayPal will hold trials with 20 more retailers by the end of this year, Nayar said.
Internet ads outpace print
China’s revenue from online advertising was higher than the equivalent in newsprint for the first time last year, a study by the market research firm iResearch said, quoted in the Global Times yesterday. Web advertising in the world’s second-largest economy generated 51.19 billion yuan (US$8.11 billion), while newsprint advertising brought in 45.36 billion yuan, iResearch said, a trend it predicted would continue this year. The three largest advertising platform providers last year in terms of revenue, according to Beijing-based iResearch, were Baidu (百度), dominant in the Chinese market, followed by Taobao’s (淘寶) e-commerce sites and search engine Google. At the end of last year, there were 513 million Internet users in China, up by 56 million over a year. About 194 million made purchases online — an increase of 20.8 percent, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.
More QE possible: analyst
The Federal Reserve may implement a third round of quantitative easing (QE) this spring to bolster the economy, Ira Jersey, director of US rates strategy at Credit Suisse in New York, said yesterday in a radio interview on Bloomberg Surveillance. The central bank has purchased US$2.3 trillion of mortgage and government bonds in two rounds of so-called QE. In September, it announced plans to sell US$400 billion of short-term debt and use the proceeds to buy an equal amount of longer-maturity securities to contain borrowing costs for companies and consumers. Jersey said a third stimulus effort may be more focused toward the housing market and buying mortgage-backed securities.
GE posts profit rise
US conglomerate General Electric (GE) on Friday posted a 16 percent rise in profit for last year, but capped the year with a weak final quarter. GE reported full-year net profit of US$13.12 billion compared with US$11.34 billion in 2010. However, fourth-quarter profit fell 16 percent year-on-year to US$3.73 billion, the company said in a statement. Net revenues fell 2 percent to US$147.3 billion for the year and 8 percent for the quarter to $37.97 billion. Both figures were well below market expectations. Despite the tough October-December period, GE said its outlook for this year remained upbeat after winning record infrastructure orders of US$28.6 billion in the fourth quarter.