Chatter is growing louder about eBay’s possible new payments platform as the company readies to spin-off its PayPal unit later this year. While the venture would certainly lead to a rivalry with Apple Pay, eBay has already upped the competition between the two with its latest hire.
Online payments expert Bora Chung will reportedly leave Apple for eBay, marking the second such instance of eBay recruiting away from Apple to boost its payment technologies. A Jan. 26 report by SFGate says eBay Chief Product Officer RJ Pittman, himself once a member of the Apple e-commerce team, was responsible for nabbing Chung.
Chung’s hire is part of Pittman’s plan to boost the new division, which focuses on payments technology innovation in preparation for PayPal’s independence day. Experts see PayPal’s spin-off as a fork in the road for eBay: While the two could theoretically continue a partnership, most likely eBay will have to launch its own, new payments platform to stay in the game, especially as Apple Pay threatens a retail revolution.
Reports note that Chung had already spent time at PayPal as chief of staff to Dana Stalder, the company’s senior vice president of global consumer and merchandise services. While at PayPal, Chung served as senior director for its Branded Checkout unit.
While Chung’s return to eBay could spark a new mobile payments race with Apple, reports say the hire is also part of eBay’s efforts to stay afloat in the e-commerce world as new competition creeps closer. China’s Alibaba, especially, is a looming threat to eBay as the firm readies to bring its e-commerce prowess to the U.S.
Reports emerged late last year that Alibaba and Apple Pay are exploring a partnership, which would expand Apple Pay into China and help Alibaba gain a stronger foothold in the U.S. marketplace. Alibaba’s U.S.-centered boutique shop 11 Main now accepts Apple Pay.
With Alibaba and Apple strategizing in the e-commerce and mobile payments space, experts say eBay will have to hustle to catch up, especially after PayPal goes it alone.