On May 23, the Amazon App Store sent out an email to users stating that starting on July 17, Amazon China will cease operations of its app store services.
The announcement quickly stirred up a frenzy on Chinese social media, with many netizens lamenting the imminent closure. On Weibo, the hashtag “Amazon China will stop app store service” garnered nearly 2 million views in less than two days. Some speculated the move to be due to tightened regulations regarding data and privacy protections, coupled with fierce competition from local players.
In response to this matter, Amazon China issued a statement on its official WeChat the following day on May 24, stating that the suspension of the Amazon App Store service will not affect any current Amazon business operations in China.
”The Amazon Appstore is an app store for users to download games and mobile applications for Android devices”, the statement said. “The discontinuation of the Amazon Appstore service will not affect any of Amazon’s current business operations in China, including Amazon’s overseas purchases, Amazon’s global store openings, and Amazon’s official website in China, Amazon.cn.”
“We will continue to innovate and invest in China to provide value to customers through our business, products and services. Amazon China’s business includes Amazon overseas shopping, Amazon global store opening, Amazon advertising, cross-border e-commerce business including Amazon global logistics, Amazon cloud technology and Amazon smart hardware and services, etc.”
In recent years, Amazon has been gradually scaling down its operations in China. Last year, the company announced its plans to shut down its Kindle e-book service in the country on June 30, 2023. Now, according to a February 2023 report by digital commerce agency TMO Group, Amazon ranks in 12th place among e-commerce platforms in China, lagging behind the nation’s top three platforms Taobao, JD.com, and Douyin.
Overall, the decision by Amazon China to shut down its app store services has sparked speculation and discussion about the company’s future in the nation, while highlighting the company’s diminishing presence in the Chinese e-commerce market dominated by local platforms.