Internet consumer-to-consumer corporation eBay, which operates the world's biggest online marketplace, is looking into the possibility of launching a Hebrew website, Yedioth Ahronoth has learned.
Company executives are expected to visit Israel
in the near future to examine the issue.
A Yedioth Ahronoth inquiry reveals that eBay's subsidiary, global e-commerce business PayPal, is interested in renting four additional floors in Tel Aviv's Electra Buildings. PayPal's Israel offices are currently located on two of the building's floors.
It's unclear whether the negotiations for the additional floors are aimed at expanding PayPal's activity in Israel or preparing the ground for a new eBay center.
Apart from the PayPal offices, eBay holds two more assets in Israel: Recently-acquired The Gifts Project
company operates from a building on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, and a building in Netanya is being used by price comparison service Shopping.com, which was purchased by eBay about six years ago.
According to sources in the real estate industry, eBay has been looking for another building in Israel for some time. The area PayPal is negotiating with the Electra Real Estate company stretches over 5,000 square meters (53,820 square feet).
According to one of the sources, "There is no doubt that such an area is meant to be rich with manpower and indicates that eBay plans to step up its activity in Israel."
Eight floors of the Electra building are currently being used by another Internet giant, Google, which manages some of its Israel activity there. A third technology giant planning to build a development center in Israel, according to recent reports, is Apple.
EBay is considered one of the most tremendous success stories among Internet companies. The American company, which was founded in 1995 as a startup with 30 workers, turned into a corporation employing 15,000 and generating tens of billions of dollars a year. The company's annual income stands at $8 billion.
Its success resulted mainly from the fact that it managed to turn its website from a "regular" marketplace, allowing each user to buy and sell products, into a lively commerce arena offering a particularly convenient and accessible platform for advertising products and managing extensive business sales on the Internet.
EBay offers its online traders guidance and extremely secure payment methods, based on the PayPal services.
The company's growth was accompanied by a long series of mergers and acquisitions of software and Internet companies, which offer relevant products for e-commerce, like local marketplace websites, mainly in Europe and the US.
In 2005, eBay tried to get foothold in the online communications industry by purchasing video calls software company Skype, but the move proved to be unsuccessful and eBay sold most of its stake in Skype in 2009.
The steps taken by eBay in Israel reflect its bid to take over the retail trade market. In the past year, apart from purchasing The Gifts Project in September, eBay acquired former Israeli startup Magento, which developed an e-commerce platform at an open code model, for more than $180 million. In 2008 the company bought another Israeli startup, Fraud Sciences, which specializes in detecting online fraud.
EBay's key course of action in recent years is establishing local eBay sites like eBay Germany, eBay UK, eBay Australia and eBay France. These websites are not ONLY operated in the local language, but also allow commerce through local currency.
EBay said in response to this report, "The company does not respond to rumors." Electra Real Estate declined comment.
Natalie Groisman and Ofer Petersburg contributed to this report