EBay launches marketplace for small businesses

Online auction company eBay has launched a specialized marketplace for small companies designed to help them drive down the costs of doing business.

Called eBay Business, the site offers small businesses the opportunity to bid on or pay fixed prices for more than 500,000 business items every week.

"Businesses buying and selling on eBay is a natural extension of our business model," said John Herr, general manager and vice president of San Jose-based eBay, in a statement released yesterday. "Our users have proven that eBay can be as relevant for industrial, office technology and wholesale products as it is for consumer products."

According to Herr, sales in eBay's business and industrial categories have risen by 90 percent in each of the past two years, as eBay users have turned to the online auction site to purchase business as well as personal items.

The new marketplace offers capital equipment and supplies related to a variety of fields, including metalworking, restaurant and food service, test and measurement, construction, agriculture, industrial supplies, commercial printing, and medical and laboratory.

In addition, companies can purchase computers, laptops, networking and telecommunications equipment, wireless phones, software, printers and personal digital assistants, as well as office furniture, equipment and supplies.

EBay Business will offer wholesale listings in certain categories, such as computers, electronics, media, apparel, toys and sporting goods. It will also offer third-party services that make it easier for businesses to buy and sell, including online payments by PayPal, escrow accounts, shipping services, transaction insurance and volume selling tools.

"Reducing costs is a priority for most small businesses, especially in the current economic climate," said Jordan Glazier, general manager of eBay Business. "Buying business products on eBay makes sense for cost-conscious small businesses. It's a simple and effective way to preserve capital and cut costs."

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