Meg Goes East - eBay Inc. Expands to Vietnam
eBay.vn is live, but many of the links appear to link directly back to the eBay.com site, which makes one wonder if eBay is even finished with the site yet. Being that it seems that many of the links to items link back to a site called eBay Asian Promo (http://ebayasiapromo.com), and also back to eBay.com, my guess is no. The links to items do not, of course, take you directly to that homepage, but rather to listing pages that are hosted under that domain. The listing pages have Vietnamese language in the eBay portion of the listing, but retain their original language in the listing.
The expansion into Asia has some eBay users feeling annoyed. The Asian sites have yet to show that they can generate revenue that is worth the expense, and some of the sites in Asia currently have free listings for the members. ebay Inc. has been criticized for allowing these free listings to then show in the searches of eBay.com in the past - no information yet as to whether or not eBay.vn listing will appear in the US searches or not, or what other eBay.somewhere sites might return search results for eBay.vn listings.
Time will tell if Meg Whitman's push into Asia will be successful. What I cannot figure out though, is why spend the time, money, personnel and capital creating sites that are specifically for export in these non-English speaking countries if the goods listed there will be primarily for export TO English speaking countries. It would seem that the shipping costs would make selling prohibitive for many small sellers - not to mention the language barrier and the assumed apprehension of buyers buying from non-English speaking sellers 8,000 miles away. Large exporters already have avenues of dispersal without eBay and I'm guessing will be unlikely to use eBay to list retail priced individual items. Maybe Meg knows something that the critics of this Asian expansion do not, but last time she thought she knew what she was doing, it ended up costing eBay tens of millions of dollars in China without any benefit whatsoever.