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Internet auctioneer eBay is exceptionally popular in Germany, CEO Greg Whitman told the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung yesterday. After only four years on the German market, eBay generates more revenue online than KarstadtQuelle Group, Europe's largest combined department store and mail order group (Sales of €15.8bn in 2002).

eBay generated $92 million of Q3 sales in Germany, up 74 per cent year on year, making it the company's biggest market outside the US.

During Christmas sales last year, already 17 per cent of all packages delivered by Deutsche Post were ordered through eBay, and this may well go up this Christmas, despite a depressed economy. eBay has 11.4 million registered users in Germany, and of those three quarters have been active buyers in the past twelve months.

eBay has been pitching its profitable business model to Europeans this week, hoping to attract sell-side analyst coverage and institutional investors. Whitman singled out the German and British markets as a near-term growth catalyst.

Meanwhile, other German auctioneers are doing less well. QXL Ricardo plc sold its German subsidiary recently to Marktplaats.nl, by far the biggest online marketplace in the Netherlands. The new name for the German site is Intoko.

Despite selling assets, QXL Ricardo is still losing money. Losses for the six months to late September came in at £6 million, down from £10 million during the same period last year. However, trading has picked up more strongly than expected since late August, the company said today. ®

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