Amazon halts sales of paper books in China, more businesses to close in near future

By Zhang Hongpei Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/3 21:56:08

Photo: IC

US e-commerce giant Amazon halted paper book sales on its self-operated channel as of Monday in China and will halt its services for third-party sellers starting from July 18, business magazine Caijing reported Wednesday.

Amazon's customer services said more businesses in the Chinese market will be shut down except for its cross-border e-commerce business and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

"Over the past few years, we have been evolving our China online retail business to increasingly emphasize cross-border sales… To further address increasing customer demand for high-quality, authentic goods from around the world, we made operational adjustments in April 2019 on our domestic retail business in China, including paper books, to accelerate our cross-border business in China," Amazon said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Amazon's commitment to China remains strong… We will continue to invest and grow in China across Amazon Global Store, Global Selling, AWS, Kindle devices and content," the company said.

Some Chinese netizens expressed their regret about not being able to purchase paper books on Amazon any more.

An online survey conducted by Fengchao Tech on Weibo on Wednesday showed that more than 53 percent of respondents said that the ending of paper book sales on Amazon would have no impact on their daily life since there are other platforms like and in China.

Amazon, the world's largest e-commerce business by revenue and market capitalization, notified third-party sellers that it will no longer operate a marketplace nor provide seller services on its Chinese website from July 18, according to a statement that the company sent to the Global Times in April.

"As far as I know, employees at Amazon China have been seeking their next employers over the past two months," an industry insider speaking on condition of anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Amazon's e-commerce business is highly likely to be gone in the near future as the company is destocking." 

For most e-commerce players in China, books belong to a marginal business. "But Amazon does not have advantages when it comes to non-book sales compared with or," the insider said.

Amazon made its foray into the Chinese market after taking over, a popular online seller of books, for $75 million in 2004, when China's e-commerce business had just sprouted.

At that time, Alibaba's annual sales were only 1 billion yuan ($145 million) compared with Amazon's $7 billion, media reports said.

Meanwhile, Amazon's market share in China slid to 0.6 percent, according to data released last year by Analysys, an internet data analysis service provider.

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