Worldwide dot.com stalwart eBay has stealthily launched a watered-down web presence in South Africa, “Ebay South Africa” on ebay.co.za. Was in a meeting with internet guru Ronnie Apteker (sorry Ronnie!) and he pointed me to it.
It apparently launched in the last few days, although they have owned the co.za for years.
Will be interesting to see how local auction sites, notably the market leader bid or buy will respond — if at all. I know Andy Higgins, the respected b or b MD has been anticipating the launch for some time now.
Much of the product is listed in local currency, rands, although the site keeps flipping to the US version giving you dollar inventory, which is a bit confusing. Seems like they are busy working on it at the moment, or the site just has too many bugs. It still seems like it is more a copy of the US site, than a dedicated local play. The local currency is just a straight conversion of US dollars.
I haven’t played around with it long enough to make too many detailed judgments — but it’s full of US product there and not much local product? Then there is also the question, raised by readers on this blog, about how SA users will pay without local Paypal representation (ironically founded by a South African). Perhaps they have a creative solution? Weird.
Update: The ebay site has actually been like that for well over a year, as a front for the US site, very little localised about it. Andy Higgins of Bid or Buy says I was about “the hundredth” person to ask him about it :-). Questions however still remain over what the ebay strategy is, and what they hope to achieve by this strange site. Apologies for the crap post everyone!