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eBay launches classified ad sites

Online auction house eBay has launched a series of classified advertising websites in Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

The move comes as the company faces pressure to match its strong earnings growth figures of recent years.

eBay shares slipped after its October to December profits failed to meet market expectations, despite rising 44% to $205.4m (£110m) on 2003.

The new sites were launched under the name Kijiji on 28 February.

Individuals will be able to list items free of charge.

eBay said the launch will not have a material impact on its earnings this year.

The firm has been investing in a number of classified advertising websites.

In November it bought Netherlands-based for $290m and last month snapped up US property site for $414m.

Its $152m purchase of German auto ads site is set to be completed in the next few months.

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