Amazon stopped supplying retailers in China with Kindle e-readers and will close down the country’s Kindle ebook shop, Reuters reported based on a post made to the company’s WeChat account. Starting June 30th, 2023, users will no longer be able to buy digital Kindle books in China, while Amazon will pull its Kindle app from Chinese app stores one year later.
However, current customers will be able to download titles purchased in the past until June 2024, and after that, they’ll keep working but without the cloud’s backup. The move isn’t related to pressure from the government or censorship, the tech giant told Reuters. Rather, Amazon says it’s changing its strategic focus. The company’s other businesses in the country — like its e-commerce, cloud, and advertising services — will continue.
“We remain committed to our customers in China. As a global business, we periodically evaluate our offerings and make adjustments, wherever we operate,” an Amazon spokesperson told Reuters. “With our portfolio of businesses in China, we will continue to innovate and invest where we can provide value to our customers.”
Amazon’s one of a few Western tech companies that have scaled back operations in China recently. Last week, Airbnb pulled its listings in China due to a decline in business as a result of China’s long COVID lockdown and high costs made worse by the pandemic. However, the company’s Beijing office will remain and instead redirect its attention to outbound travelers.
Meanwhile, Yahoo withdrew its services from China in November, just one month after Microsoft-owned LinkedIn shut down the local version of its platform in the country. Both offered similar reasons, with LinkedIn citing the country’s “challenging operating environment” and increased compliance requirements.