Amazon: Closing Chinese Marketplace Business, More Focus on India

Amazon has plowed billions of dollars into the India business since opening its website there in 2013, building more than 50 warehouses to support the business
The company will keep running other businesses in China, including Amazon Web Services, Kindle e-books, and cross-border operations

In a rare retreat for Amazon.com Inc., the e-commerce giant plans to shut down its Chinese marketplace business in July as it shifts its focus to offering mainland consumers overseas products rather than goods from local sellers.

Amazon will keep running its other businesses in China, including Amazon Web Services, Kindle e-books, and cross-border operations that help ship goods from Chinese merchants to customers abroad. Starting on 18 July, customers logging in to Amazon’s Chinese web portal, Amazon.cn, will only see a selection of goods from its global store, rather than products from third-party sellers.

Amazon entered China in 2004, when it bought a local online book seller for $75 million. Since then, it’s invested in warehouses, data centers, and programs to teach Chinese sellers how to get their goods to Amazon customers. It launched its Prime membership programme in China in 2016 with hopes of luring customers with promises of high-quality Western goods and perks like free international deliveries. But extra perks like Prime Video, which has been used to woo customers in other markets, aren’t available to users in China.

Alibaba, JD and other Chinese platforms also ramped up their offerings of everything from American cherries to Australian baby formula with steep discounts. Amazon still has less than 1 percent market share in China, according to iResearch.

For now, Amazon’s commitment to China remains strong and it will continue to invest in the country, according to a company spokeswoman. She said it has been shifting the focus of its online retail business in the country to cross-border sales, which cater both to Chinese merchants selling to consumers abroad and to Chinese customers looking for high-quality goods from around the world.

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