Amazon to shutter its Chinese Appstore – the one used by hardly anyone, anywhere
Middle Kingdom users told to acquaint themselves with the Windows Subsystem for Android
Amazon.com has pulled the plug on the Chinese outpost of its Appstore.
Readers could be forgiven for not knowing Amazon operates an Appstore anywhere – the e-tail colossus bundles it with "Fire" tablets, which run a modified version of Android and sell around 16 million units year around the world. That's just under ten percent of the global tablet market according to analyst firm IDC.
Fire tablets do even worse in China. Canalys rates Amazon outside the top five vendors – meaning it has less than 7.4 percent share of the ~45 million fondleslabs shipped each year in the Middle Kingdom.
Amazon did theoretically have a shot at success in China, because Google's Play app store is not accessible in the Middle Kingdom without a VPN. Local smartphones therefore offer local app stores – usually operated by handset vendors – and some ship with more than one.
But Amazon appears not to have had much success, even in that environment.
The announcement of its Appstore's demise in China is therefore unsurprising.
Local media report that Chinese customers were sent an email naming July 17 as the last day the Amazon Appstore will operate, and pointing out that the Windows 11 Android subsystem taps into the Amazonian digital tat bazaar.
That's not a lot of use for those who access the Appstore on mobile devices, but at least it is a lifeline.
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News of the exit comes 11 months after Amazon withdrew its Kindle e-book readers from China.
In its letter and announcement, Amazon China took care to assure customers its other business activities will continue for the foreseeable future.
"We will continue to innovate and invest in China," the social media post states – mentioning overseas shopping, advertising, cross-border e-commerce business including Amazon global logistics, AWS, and smart hardware as businesses the company intends to continue.
Of course it has to continue them on Beijing's terms – which is why AWS in China is operated by an outfit called Beijing Sinnet Technology Co., Ltd. ®