LibertyOne trumps auction market in Asia

LibertyOne trumps auction market in Asia

Internet company LibertyOne's online auction strategy has intensified with the announcement that it will extend its licensing arrangement with US auction house uBid into the Asian region.

LibertyOne secured the exclusive Australian and New Zealand licensing rights for uBid in July last year, implementing them in Australia in October and in New Zealand just weeks ago.

The additional deal entails the non-exclusive licensing of uBid's online auction software, documentation and intellectual property throughout Asia, including China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.

But the actual uBid brand will not be deployed in the region. "The recognition of the uBid brand in Asia is virtually nil. We will be looking at developing our own brand to deploy in the greater Asian region," said Chris Hitching, uBid's managing director.

However, the close ties with the brand uBid will still be utilised when approaching suppliers, said Hitching.

"We have a very close relationship with uBid and when we're approaching vendors we do it with our uBid hat on - it carries more weight because they know the name."

CMGI have the rights to the uBid brand everywhere except Australia and New Zealand after it recently bought the auction house.

"We literally signed the new deal with uBid moments before CMGI and uBid signed theirs," said Hitching.

Developing its Asian operations is uBid's current priority, according to Hitching, who will focus on markets such as China and Japan first, then move on to less lucrative countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia.

In certain parts of Asia one site will initially service several countries, such as Singapore and Malaysia, with "neither having the mass to support separate teams of buyers".uBid will initially offer similar products to its successful Australian and New Zealand siblings, with 75 per cent of products sold through there being electrical goods for consumers, small business and home offices.

According to Hitching, the Australian site is closing 50 to 60 items a day and has signed on new vendors such as Dell and Philips since its inception.uBid's presence in New Zealand is also set to change, with hitching predicting that in the "next couple of months we will start sourcing products from New Zealand."

However, a completely unique New Zealand site (as opposed to its current set up where all products are sourced and shipped from Australia, as NZ only has a local URL) will only happen in about a year.

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