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I made a rare excursion to eBay at the weekend to buy a second-hand birdbath, noting the online offerings and buy/sell process didn’t seem to have altered much over the years since I last checked it out.
Changes are afoot though. EBay has been outshone by its former subsidiary PayPal, but last month signalled a return to financial services with the launch of business loans for its sellers.
Analysts have also praised innovations and improvements in category -specific offerings, such as sneakers, watches and authenticated trading cards. Promoted listings is also a growth driver.
The ecommerce company has listened to activists calling on it to slim down its business and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority today approved its $9.2bn deal with Norway’s Adevinta, which will create the world’s largest online classified advertising group. The sale of eBay Korea could be next.
Friends and family prefer Etsy to eBay. The former looks more fashionable to me, compared to the latter’s General Store look. That differentiation continues, with Tim Bradshaw’s scoop today revealing Etsy is acquiring London-based Depop, the second-hand fashion app, for $1.6bn. More than 90 per cent of Depop’s millions of active users are under 26, giving Etsy access to a younger demographic than its main consumer base.
Whether it’s vintage and recycled clothes or trading cards and collectibles, both Etsy and eBay appear to be benefiting from the consumer trend that the new thing is older stuff.
The Internet of (Five) Things
1. US punishes digital tax countries with tariff threat
The office of the US trade representative said it was imposing, but immediately suspending for six months, tariffs on $2bn worth of goods from Austria, India, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the UK, as it wrapped up a series of probes over the way the countries tax US tech giants.
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2. White House blames Russian gang for meat hack
The Biden administration says a Russian gang was probably behind a ransomware attack at JBS, the world’s largest meat processor. A cyber attack on its North American and Australian systems halted work for thousands of abattoir employees. President Biden will rebuke Vladimir Putin over the attack when the two leaders meet later this month, the White House said.
3. Stablecoins may lack stability
The Great Bitcoin Crash of 2021 has emboldened issuers of stablecoins, which are pegged to real-world assets, to declare themselves the future of digital currencies, says Lex. Demand for tether, which is tied to the US dollar, has jumped since the start of the year. But stablecoins are only as stable as their reserves and tether’s include less than 3 per cent in cash.
4. UK fibre fights
LetterOne, the investment group controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, is backing a £1bn plan to build a regional British fibre broadband network to compete with BT for post-Covid home workers. BT will also face additional competition from newly combined Virgin Media O2, says its chief executive Lutz Schüler.
5. AI investments soar for healthcare
We are witnessing a mad rush to gain access to patient and hospital data and turn AI loose upon it, comments Brooke Masters. Last week’s deal that will see Google store HCA’s data and help the US hospital chain develop healthcare algorithms is one example. The UK NHS’s plan to consolidate 55m patient primary care records into a single database is another. Global fundraising for AI health start-ups hit a new record of $2.5bn in the first quarter, says CB Insights. Big players should not be allowed to amass outsized positions in such sensitive data.
Tech tools — Huawei’s Android disharmony
Denied access to Google services and Android updates by US sanctions, Huawei today officially launched its Android alternative, HarmonyOS. Alongside this, it unveiled the MatePad Pro, the company’s first tablet to come preloaded with the new operating system. Trusted Reviews says the interface looks very similar to Apple’s iPadOS, with a shortcut bar and customisable widgets. The Verge covers the announcement of the first smartwatches running HarmonyOS — the Huawei Watch 3 and Huawei Watch 3 Pro. Smartphones will follow.
Read More: Etsy and eBay go back in fashion