eBay’s Future Growth

Wired interviewed eBay’s CEO Meg Whitman. Excerpts:

In just the first quarter of this year, our users traded $8 billion. So annualized, they’re on track to trade $32 billion dollars. Our revenues this year will be just over $3 billion, so we’re a very large company. We think that the growth potential for the company is still very significant, and we look at it in three ways.

First is the U.S. business, which continues to grow at a 30 to 75 percent compound annual growth rate. And we believe that we have a big opportunity left here. In every category in which we have sellers, we have less than 5 percent of the total sales in that category. Collectibles — our most mature and oldest category — is still only about 5 percent of the collectibles business in the United States. So we should be able to move that up somewhat across all categories.

Second is international expansion. International is the fastest-growing segment of our business, and that’s because in virtually every country in the world, eBay is nascent. We’ve been there one, two, three, four years maximum. So we think we have a lot of growth potential, and this concept is as relative in Germany as it is in France, as it is in Korea, as it is in China. It’s universal. Trading is in the human DNA, and entrepreneurs like to be successful doing what they love.

The third leg of our strategy is PayPal. We bought PayPal about 15 months ago because it had become the de facto payment standard on eBay.com. PayPal’s strategy is to continue to be the standard on eBay.com, and then secondarily follow eBay’s footprint around the world. And then finally of course, PayPal has an off-eBay opportunity. If you have a website and you just sell on the Web, regardless of your affiliation with eBay, you can use PayPal to accept credit cards and accept payment electronically.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.