Amazon to close Kindle bookstore in China, halt device sale

Amazon said Thursday that it will shut down its digital Kindle bookstores in China and stop selling the device to retailers in the country to readjust the focus of its business.

The company said in a post on the popular messaging app WeChat that the digital bookstore will stop operating on June 30, 2023. Customers in China will not be able to buy new e-books after that day and won’t be able to download books they’ve already purchased after a year later, the company said. It noted that it will offer refunds for Chinese customers who bought a Kindle this year.

Amazon’s announcement comes as foreign technology companies have been pulling out or downsizing their operations in China as a strict data privacy law specifying how companies collect and store data takes effect. Such pullbacks have come from companies including Airbnb, Yahoo and Microsoft’s LinkedIn, which shuttered the Chinese version of its site last year and replaced it with a jobs board with no social networking functions.

However, Amazon said its other businesses in China will continue.

“Amazon China’s long-term commitment to customers will not change,” the post said. “We have established a broad business base in China and will continue to innovate and invest.”

“As a global business, Amazon is focused on delivering valuable products and services to customers through innovation. At the same time, we continue to adjust the strategic focus of our own business and continue to make efforts in the areas that customers need,” the company said in another statement posted on its official Weibo account.

The e-commerce giant went on to emphasize its cross-border e-commerce efforts in China, as well as its cloud computing technologies and services. Amazon also said that it had 10,000 employees in China, with offices in 12 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Shenzhen.

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