By Michelle Toh, CNN Business
Amazon is closing its Kindle bookstore in China, marking yet another retreat for a Western tech giant in the world’s second-largest economy.
The company announced on Thursday that from July 2023, Kindle users will no longer be able to buy books online in the country.
Existing customers will be able to download previously purchased titles until June 2024. Amazon also said it would stop supplying Kindle devices to retailers. from Thursday.
“Amazon China’s long-term commitment to its customers will not change,” the Seattle-based company said in a statement. “We have established an extensive business base in China and will continue to innovate and invest.”
This decision is in addition to a series of withdrawals of companies from China These last months. Last week, Airbnb (ABNB) announced it would remove all of its listings in the country and instead focus on outbound travellers, saying it had incurred mounting costs which were compounded by Covid-19. Starting this summer, customers will no longer be able to make reservations in China.
Last October, LinkedIn announced it would shut down the local version of its platform in China, citing a “significantly more difficult operating environment” and compliance hurdles.
The platform, which is owned by Microsoft, has decided to introduce a brand new, even more localized service called InJobs. The site is intended to serve less as a personalized professional networking service that allows users to share messages and posts online, and more as a traditional careers portal.
Amazon first entered mainland China in 2004 by acquiring Joyo.com, a major online seller of books, music and videos in the country.
Since then, it has had limited success in the vast market. In 2019, the company shut down its local online marketplace in China, meaning customers were no longer able to purchase goods from Chinese suppliers.
Although the company hasn’t publicly explained why, analysts have suggested it gave in to local competition, led by players such as Alibaba and JD.com.
Amazon continues to operate an online store in China that enables ‘overseas’ shopping, the company noted in its statement Thursday, in addition to logistics, cloud service and advertising businesses.
— CNN’s Shawn Deng and Ziyu Zhang contributed to this report.
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