Executives from online auctioneers eBay described China the world's "largest e-commerce opportunity today" and reaffirmed the company's plans to invest US$100m in their China operations in 2005. Speaking at a company conference in California, eBay CEO Meg Whitman described the potential for Internet commerce in China as "simply extraordinary." She said China's current online population already exceeds that of Germany and the U.K., two of eBay's most important markets, and by 2009 is expected to surpass that of the US. "Behind that growth will be 170 million middle-class households by 2010," Whitman said. "In short, five to 10 years from now, (a company's) share of e-commerce in China is likely to be the defining measure of business success on the Net." EBay entered China in 2002 when it bought one third of EachNet.com Corp. for US$30m , acquiring the remaining two thirds a year later for an additional US$150m and finished integrating the site with eBay's international network in September last year.
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