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Online auction house sets up shop in Uganda

Uganda is steadily adopting e-commerce in step with global trends, according to industry observers.

With the successful launch of Q-Ball, an online auction house, based on a shilling auction in Kampala on Wednesday, the future looks brighter for the industry. These types of auctions have traditionally been a preserve for international major currencies where participating individuals won high-end items such as smartphones.

Sources conversant with the online auction house, say in the first two weeks of trading, hundreds of people took part in the exercise.

“This is not gambling. It is a competition. It is part of e-commerce, a practice that is common in developed countries that is now being introduced in Uganda,” says Pamela Kappa, the chief executive officer at Q-Ball Limited.

“This is an online auction house that is based on the penny auction. For the case of Uganda, the shilling concept principal is used whereby bids are made in small incremental values also known as a bidding fee,” she said.

“In our case, each bid costs Shs 1,000 for an auction item that is highly discounted up to 95%. Q-Ball has gone a step further to offer back airtime worth Shs 100 per bid so as to make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding,” Kappa said.

“So, ours is about competition, fun and reward. The bidder with the highest bids takes the item at the cost of the bids placed plus the Q-Ball offer price which is Shs 1,000,” she added.

If an item is offered at say Shs 50,000 and the highest bid is Shs 2,000 then the item will cost the bidder Shs 52,000,” she added.

Q-Ball was launched on Valentine’s day. Items on offer were high-end mobile phones and Valentine packages that included accommodation for two, dinner, luxury massage, a bottle of wine and breakfast at Kampala Serena hotel for as low as Shs 100,000, a package which ordinarily goes beyond Shs 1m.

“Going forward, we will be running weekly auctions from Monday to Friday and announcing winners on Saturday. The auction items will include electronics, fuel vouchers, cars, houses, land, holiday trips abroad, school fees vouchers and many more exciting offers,” the company announced in a statement. 

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