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Amazon to Shut Down Kindle E-Book Business in China

Amazon.com said on Thursday it will immediately stop supplying retailers in China with its Kindle e-readers and will shut its China Kindle e-bookstore in a year’s time

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If the rule comes into force, US cloud-service providers like Amazon and Microsoft would need government permission to provide cloud-computing services that use advanced artificial-intelligence chips to Chinese customers. Photo: Reuters


Amazon.com said on Thursday it will immediately stop supplying retailers in China with its Kindle e-readers and will shut its China Kindle e-bookstore in a year’s time.

China sought to play down the news, with Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng saying that a change of product and service offering by a foreign company in China’s fast-moving consumer market was “normal.”

In a statement posted on its official WeChat account, Amazon said its other business lines in China would remain. These include global selling and cloud computing services for businesses, as well as global shopping services and “smart” hardware for consumers.

Consumers will no longer be able to purchase e-books from the Kindle China e-bookstore from June 30 next year, it said.

But they will be able to continue downloading any purchased books for a year beyond that, or June 30, 2024, after which the Kindle app will be removed from Chinese app stores.

Amazon also allows buyers of Kindle e-readers to return any purchases made this year.


ALSO SEE: Airbnb Joins Exodus of Western Internet Firms Leaving China


Western Exodus Amid Internet Crackdown

Kindle’s retreat from China follows the exit or services cut-off of other Western internet companies including Microsoft’s LinkedIn, Yahoo and Airbnb in recent months, amid government efforts to tighten control over online content and new laws targeting data sharing and customer privacy. 

“Products and services are updated rapidly in China – the world’s second largest consumer market with rapid development,” Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said about Amazon’s decision at a press briefing.

“For various entities including foreign-invested enterprises, it is a normal phenomenon to adjust products and services in a market-oriented economy.”

Gao stressed that China welcomes foreign firms to expand their business in China and reap the rewards from China’s growth. He noted that investment from the US increased 53% year-on-year in the four months from January to April.

Kindle has faced increasing competition over the past few years from Chinese makers of e-readers such as Guangzhou-based Onyx International, as well as e-book apps provided by Tencent, ByteDance and iReader Technology.

Amazon now has over 10,000 employees in China with offices in 12 Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Shenzhen, according to its statement. The company shut down its China online store in 2019.


• By Iris Hong



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


AF China Bond