donderdag, oktober 06, 2005

eBay 10 Years - 2002

The Year that Was: 2002
"It's so important to be connected to one another." - Joe Cortese, eBay seller

Although political tensions and talk of terrorism grabbed many of the headlines in 2002, people throughout the world also spent the year forging stronger bonds of community. During this time, the once-oppressed region of East Timor joined the community of nations; the U.S. and Russia agreed to cut their respective nuclear arsenals by two-thirds over the next 10 years; the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government signed a cease-fire agreement, ending 19 years of civil war; and—to help ensure that the global community has the natural resources it needs to thrive—the United Nations established World Environment Day.

Throughout 2002, eBay, too, was working to forge and strengthen human communities around the world.

One major company focus was to strengthen the eBay community in Asia, where two-thirds of the world's 6+ billion people live. In February, eBay acquired NeoCom Technology Company, the leading operator of auction-style web sites in Taiwan. And, just three weeks later, eBay announced a major strategic business relationship with EachNet, the leading online trading community in China. Founded in 1999 by two United States-educated Chinese entrepreneurs, Bo Shao and Haiyin Tan, EachNet had—at the time of the agreement—more than 3.5 million users who traded items from clothing to computers to antique calligraphy.

Another major community-building event during 2002 was the acquisition of PayPal, a global payments system. Announced in July and completed in October, the deal allowed eBay to integrate PayPal's functionality into the eBay platform, enabling buyers and sellers to trade with greater ease, speed, and safety. "The beauty of the deal is that it will allow us to offer our communities new tools and added flexibility to do more business, PayPal's founder Peter Thiel said at the time. And few could dispute this. In 2002, 60 percent of PayPal's business was already occurring over eBay. And, since then, PayPal has become an integral component of eBay's continuing success.

In 2002, eBay also strengthened the ties that bind its community members in a way it had never done before—between June 21 and 23 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, the company hosted the first ever eBay Live! community conference. During the three days, more than 5000 eBay community members converged on the center to talk to eBay executives and employees, swap ideas with each other, and attend workshops offering tips on how to become more successful buyers and sellers. One of these sellers, Joe Cortese of Meridian, Mississippi, was overwhelmed by the spirit of community and support he saw at the gathering. "It's so important to be connected to one another," he said.

As eBay's first employees had proven several years before, a strong sense of community and economic growth go hand and hand. And, in 2002, the company's results again spoke for themselves. By year end, 4,000 employees served 61.7 million registered users who transacted $14.9 billion in gross merchandise volume in more than 18,000 categories.

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