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eBay buys into Chinese market

Marking its second move into Asia in less than a month, the auction giant buys a 33 percent stake in EachNet.

Marking its second move into Asia in less than a month, eBay said Sunday it is buying a 33 percent stake in Chinese auction site EachNet for $30 million.

In addition to the financial investment, eBay CEO Meg Whitman and Matt Bannick, senior vice president of eBay's international operations, will join EachNet's board of directors.

"Our relationship with EachNet is an important step forward in eBay's strategy to build a truly global marketplace," Whitman said in a statement.

eBay representatives did not return calls seeking additional comment.

Last month, eBay announced it would buy Taiwan-based auction site NeoCom Technology for $9.5 million. At the same time, however, the San Jose, Calif.-based auction giant said that it would close its struggling Japanese auction site.

Last year, eBay expanded into France, Brazil and the Netherlands with its buy of French auction company iBazar. The company also owns a stake in Korea's Internet Auction Company through an investment made last year.

Outside of Japan, eBay has generally been successful with its overseas ventures. In the fourth quarter, for instance, eBay's international businesses posted an operating profit for the first time and accounted for 18 percent of the company's overall revenue.

Despite its overall success, eBay couldn't keep pace in Japan, where its site trailed far behind Yahoo's market-leading site.

Bo Shao and Haiyin Tan, both Chinese entrepreneurs educated in the United States, founded EachNet in August 1999. The company has 3.5 million registered users.

The investment will not have a material effect on eBay revenue, expenses or net income, eBay said.

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