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EBay has revealed that it is working with China to become the first foreign company to be licensed to process payments in the country.
Chief executive John Donahoe said in an interview with Reuters that the online auction giant and its PayPal subsidiary would be the first to gain approval to take payments in China, though Donahoe declined to say when the firm could finalise such a deal.
“I am confident that PayPal will be the first non-domestic company to get a payments license in China,” the eBay chief said. “That could be in three months or five years.”
Such a deal could open a highly lucrative new market for eBay. While China has become one of the world's largest economies and a major buyer of IT services and infrastructure, the nation's government has tightly controlled the market and limited the access available to foreign companies.
Chinese authorities have in recent years made efforts to open the nation's economy and begin doing business with outside firms. In recent years companies such as Huawei have sought to operate on the international market.
Thus far, however, progress has been slow due in part to concerns over security. International firms and governments have complained of state-sponsored hacking activities coming from China and government authorities have long been criticised for their tight control over internet access and expression within mainland China.
Recently, authorities in the US cited security concerns over passing legislation that would restrict government agencies from purchasing IT equipment from Chinese firms.