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Wed, Mar 06, 2002 - Page 18 News List

Dramatic rise recorded in online auction users

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

Public interest in online auctions rose significantly during the beginning of the year, a market analyst said yesterday.

"Compared to last December, the number of Taiwanese Internet users visiting auction Web sites jumped 14 percent to 1.2 million visitors in January," said Stephanie Chu (朱怡靜), research manager at NetValue Ltd Taiwan.

While the figure has continued to rise over the last 14 months, January showed a tremendous increase.

NetValue is a global Internet measurement company that aims to paint a picture of Internet usage and online consumer behavior.

Founded in France in 1998, the company has an Asian subsidiary with its headquarters in Hong Kong.

Chu stressed "the trend implies the nation's e-commerce market is very promising."

Meanwhile, a government think tank forecast continued growth in the sector.

"We estimate that the Web shopping market will surpass NT$18 billion in sales in 2002, a growth rate of about 76 percent over 2001," said Geoffrey Liu (劉慰祖), an industry analyst at the Market Intelligent Center (市場情報中心) under the Institute for Information Industry (III,資策會)

He explained that since Taiwan's Internet business is only in the initial stages, there is still a lot of room for growth.

"As more people are converted into Internet users and the public's computer literacy continues to improve, e-commerce has a bright outlook."

Currently about 8 million people in Taiwan are Internet surfers, accounting for 35 percent of the population, according to Liu.

Meanwhile, NetValue's report also revealed that students are the major customers at auction Web sites.

"Up to 41 percent of all online auction users are students, followed by entry level workers at 30 percent and management level workers at 13 percent," Chu said.

In terms of age, about 48 percent of online auction visitors are between age 15 and 24, followed by 27 percent of users who are between the ages of 35 and 49.

According to NetValue's report, the top five auction sites Taiwanese users visited the most during January were four local marketplaces -- coolbid.com (酷必得), ubid.com.tw (買賣王), bid.com.tw (拍賣王), bidok.com (必得拍賣場) -- and one global venture, eBay Inc.

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