Amazon’s Kindle bookstore to quit China

Local authorities insist the next chapter is not a collapse in foreign investment


Amazon.com has decided to end its Kindle digital book business in China.

A statement posted to the Kindle China WeChat account states that Amazon has already stopped sending new Kindle devices to resellers and will cease operations of the Kindle China e-bookstore on June 30, 2023. The Kindle app will last another year, allowing users to download previously purchased e-books. But after June 30, 2024, Kindle devices in China won’t be able to access content.

An accompanying FAQ doesn’t offer a reason for the decision, but an Amazon spokesperson told Reuters “We periodically evaluate our offerings and make adjustments, wherever we operate.”

The WeChat statement says Amazon’s other businesses in China will continue. “We have established an extensive business base in China and will continue to innovate and invest,” the statement reads (after machine translation).

Amazon has offered those who have acquired a Kindle device during 2022 a refund – provided they send the device back by October 31st. Only working devices are eligible for the refund, and buyers won’t receive a payment for cases and other peripherals.

China’s web giants have created their own e-bookstores and their enormous customer bases probably made China a tough market for Amazon. China’s many crackdowns on content felt to be a threat the Communist Party, or the development of the young, or both, may also have proven difficult for Amazon to implement.

Amazon’s departure was sufficiently big news that, according to Chinese outlet Pandaily, it rated a mention at the Ministry of Commerce’s daily press briefing.

Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng reportedly said that businesses routinely adjust their activities as they see fit, adding that Amazon’s decision should in no way be taken as a sign that foreign investment in China is waning.

The Register awaits the sequel to that story. ®


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