Amazon makes adjustments in China

By Chu daye and Yang kunyi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/18 21:03:40

File photo taken on Oct. 30, 2014 shows a visitor consulting at an exhibition stand of Amazon during an e-commerce expo in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. (Xinhua/Han Chuanhao)





US-based Amazon.com, the world's largest e-commerce business by revenue and market capitalization, said it will close its marketplace in China by July 18. 

Amazon is notifying sellers that it will no longer operate a marketplace nor provide seller services on its Chinese website Amazon.cn from July 18, the company said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Thursday.

Amazon is making operational adjustments to focus on efforts on cross-border sales in China and to keep improving the experience for both Chinese customers and its global selling partners, according to the statement.

"Amazon's commitment to China remains strong - we have built a solid foundation here in a number of successful businesses and we will continue to invest and grow in China across Amazon Global Store, Global Selling, Amazon Web Services, Kindle devices and content," the company said in the statement.

The news about the company's partial exit from the Chinese market was a hot topic of online discussion on Thursday. For many Chinese consumers, the e-commerce giant is how they first became acquainted with this global brand, but many confessed the shopping experience on Amazon is no match for domestic rivals.

As a relatively new entrant to China's booming e-commerce industry, Amazon once was a major shopping site for Chinese customers, but its market share in China was a mere 0.6 percent in 2018, according to an article by Economic Weekly.

Li Yi, a 25-year-old professional living in Beijing, told the Global Times that he started to use Amazon when he was in high school, but has barely bought anything from it in two years.

One of the biggest reasons that he was a fan of Amazon as a high school student was because of its delivery and payment methods, he said.

"Back then Alipay was not popular as it is now, and as a student with no credit card, Amazon was the only platform that allowed me to pay on delivery in cash," Li said. "Also back then the delivery industry in China had barely developed, and Amazon's delivery was definitely one of the speediest."

However, Li said that in recent years Amazon's service was dwarfed by its Chinese e-commerce competitors in terms of customer services and diversity of products, especially compared with Taobao.com and JD.com.

"Taobao.com and JD.com can offer me more choices, whatever I'm looking for," Li said. "On Amazon the options are very limited."

"Probably now the only things I buy from Amazon are foreign language books, which, as a foreign e-commerce platform, Amazon does offer a lot of choices," Li said. 

Dealers are also facing increasing sales pressure on Amazon and many have turned to other domestic platforms. Books, for example, were always one of the most popular items bought on Amazon, but even book dealers are finding it difficult to promote sales.

Wang Wei, a manager at Boyaman Bookstore in Beijing, told the Global Times that the company has been operating on Amazon for four years, but now sales on Amazon only account for a small portion of its business.

"Most of our revenue comes from JD.com and Taobao.com now," Wang said. "For Amazon, the sales used to be much higher when it was a major platform to buy books, but in recent years, customers have mostly turned to JD.com and Taobao.com, because it's more likely you will find what you are looking for."



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