China's 99bill.com Inks Agreement With PayPal

In a move that seems to suggest eBay's subsidiary PayPal might be contemplating a Chinese acquisition, Chinese independent third-party online payment company 99bill.com has signed an agreement with PayPal to cooperate on improving its international payment efficiency and promoting international trade settlement.

99bill.com reportedly started to contact PayPal in the first half of 2008. With the cooperation of 99bill.com, PayPal will be able to promote its localization strategy, which will not only enable it to provide better services to Chinese users and raise its influence among Chinese cooperate users, but also can enhance its leading position in the world's online payment market.

Guan Guoguang, CEO of 99bill.com, says with the help of PayPal's advantages in the international payment sector, 99bill.com will provide cooperating customers with more payment services as well as exploring the international market.

At present, PayPal has over 165 million users in 190 countries and regions and it supports 19 different currencies, making it the largest online payment service provider in the world.

Neither company has announced terms of the deal or whether this is a preliminary step to a merger. With the rise of other Chinese online payment providers like Alibaba's Alipay, coupled with eBay's past missteps in dealings with Eachnet and Tom.com, PayPal might be well-served to find a stable local partner who can give it a better edge in the local Chinese market.

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