Amazon’s Kindle to close its China e-book service next year, following Airbnb and LinkedIn in exiting mainland market

·3-min read

Amazon.com will close its Kindle e-book service in China by next June, the company said on Thursday, becoming the latest US business to pull the plug on mainland operations after home rental firm Airbnb, professional social media platform LinkedIn, and internet portal Yahoo.

The Kindle unit said it has stopped selling e-book devices to distributors starting Thursday, and will shut down the online bookstore service on June 30, 2023. Users will not be able to purchase new e-books after that date, according to the announcement on its official Weibo and WeChat accounts.

The move comes just a week after Airbnb announced its intention to pull out of China. “As a global business, we periodically evaluate our offerings and make adjustments, wherever we operate,” Amazon said in a statement.

Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.

Shenzhen gives US$1.6 million to firms engaged in cross border e-commerce

Amazon’s Kindle entered China in June 2013 and quickly emerged as a dominant market player in the country’s e-book market, forming a large group of fans despite competition from a long list of Chinese rivals.

However, the proliferation of smartphones, and the improvement of screen technology, has gradually reduced demand for specialist e-book reading devices.

Kindle closed its flagship store on Tmall, one of the largest e-commerce marketplaces in China, earlier this year, fanning speculation that it was preparing to exit China. Tmall is run by Alibaba Group Holding, owner of the South China Morning Post.

China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said Kindle’s decision was a normal business adjustment and China would continue to welcome investors.

Lily Lang, a millennial who has been a Kindle user for about 13 years, told the Post she felt saddened but not entirely surprised by the company’s exit.

She had been on an annual subscription until around a year ago, when only a 12 yuan (US$1.80) monthly subscription plan was made available to Chinese users of Kindle Unlimited. The avid reader usually used the tablet before bed, during travel or when she had limited access to physical copies of books.

“I will not replace Kindle with other products, but I may try to download books and read them offline,” Lang said, adding that she has enjoyed the product’s highlights, annotation and translation features.

“I feel like the world for Chinese internet users has been increasingly closed off,” said Lang, who also stopped using LinkedIn and Airbnb within the last year.

More from South China Morning Post:

This article Amazon’s Kindle to close its China e-book service next year, following Airbnb and LinkedIn in exiting mainland market first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2022.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting