The Chinese market has proved itself to be a tough nut to crack for foreign, especially American, companies. The situation is further compounded by Chinese government’s efforts to tighten its control over digital content, ensure strict censorship, and enact laws that target data sharing and customer privacy. This has prompted several Western companies to simply pull out of the market, and now, Amazon has joined the list.
Amazon reportedly announced on its official Weibo and WeChat accounts that it has decided to close its Kindle e-book service in China from June 2023, so you have nearly a year to enjoy its facilities and features before you will be unable to purchase new e-books.
Come 2023, the Seattle-based e-commerce titan will shut down its Kindle e-bookstore in the country. It has already stopped e-book devices to distributors in China from Thursday. If you bought a Kindle after January 1, then you can get a refund, and Amazon will also remove the Kindle app from Chinese app stores in 2024.
This does not come as a surprise, given that Kindle closed its flagship store in Tmall (in China) earlier this year. It has already spent nine years in the Chinese market, and while it enjoyed success and became a dominant player in the market (it represented 65% of China’s e-reader market in 2021), the increased popularity and demand for smartphones meant that the demand for devices such as Kindles dropped.
No specific reason was given, but Amazon said that it was adjusting the strategic focus of its operations and that its other business lines in China would continue.
This is not the first retreat of Amazon from the Chinese market – three years ago – it halted its core online retail business to China’s domestic e-commerce players by discontinuing its third-party online marketplace and halting seller services on its Chinese website. Amazon’s businesses that still operate in China include international e-commerce (Amazon Global Store), advertising, and cloud services.
This decision by Jeff Bezos’ Amazon makes it the latest US company to pull out from the restrictive Chinese market – it comes barely a week after home rental firm Airbnb announced that it will be pulling out of China. Other such companies include LinkedIn and Yahoo.