Trade Me Sells for $670 Million

The Fairfax publishing group continued the trend of Australia media companies pushing to acquire more of the web this week by purchasing New Zealand’s equivalent of eBay - Trade Me. eBay is present in NZ, but it doesn’t have the penetration that Trade Me has.

The sale of Trade Me netted it’s investors a cool $670 million. Trade Me founder Sam Morgan alone pocketed $220 million. At only 29 years of age his story is yet another inspirational tale. He started the web site in 1999 as a 23 year old university drop out. Funding was obtained from a small NZ venture capital company.

In the beginning, Morgan used to promote the site by driving his 1972 Holden around the streets of Wellington with Trade Me signage. Now the site enjoys over 2 million visitors per month and has over half a million items for sale (compared with eBay NZ’s ~15,000 items). Considering NZ only has a population of 4 million, the stats are amazing.

From a technical point of view, Trade Me looks impressive. The site is clean and fast. Navigating it here in Sydney is actually quicker than navigating eBay Australia’s site. Interestingly, while writing this article I decided to try It points to exactly the same site - Perhaps they’re looking toward an assault on the Australian online auction market in the near future?

4 Responses to “Trade Me Sells for $670 Million”

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  2. eBay Marches on via PayPal - Says:

    […] Where I come from (New Zealand) the big topic early in this century was ‘e-commerce’. This was a relatively new proposition down-under, a beast that kiwi business people new they would have to tackle. At the time there was only one local who had proven to have ability in this field, his name is Sam Morgan and he started trademe, basically a kiwi eBay. In a lot of ways the success of trademe further re-enforced my ongoing interest in the progress of eBay as an e-commerce business as there strategy and business model was the catalyst for the trademe auction site. […]

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