Amazon is set to close its official app store in China, marking another step back from the Chinese market for the US tech giant. The closure comes after Amazon’s announcement last year that it would also be shutting down its Kindle e-book service in the country. While the Amazon Appstore, launched in 2011 as an alternative to Google for Android users, will be discontinued, other services such as Amazon.cn, Amazon Global Selling, Amazon Global Store, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) will continue operating.
According to The South China Morning Post, the app store service will cease operations on July 17, as stated in an email sent to users. The email, however, did not provide specific reasons for the market exit. China’s internet service market, with over 1 billion users, has become increasingly challenging for foreign businesses due to tightened regulations on data and privacy, as well as fierce competition from local players.
Despite the closure, Amazon’s Appstore can still be accessed in mainland China without the need for a virtual private network (VPN). Notably, banned US apps like Facebook and Twitter are unavailable. This move follows LinkedIn’s decision to shut down its Chinese app and end its social media presence in the country.
Amazon has been gradually scaling down its operations in China in recent years, facing difficulties in its e-commerce and cloud services. The company discontinued support for third-party merchants in the domestic marketplace in 2019. A February report by digital commerce agency TMO Group ranked Amazon as the 12th most popular e-commerce platform in China, significantly behind leaders Taobao, JD.com, and Douyin.
Regarding cloud services, Amazon Web Services (AWS) held a 8.6 percent market share in China during the second half of 2022, placing it fifth among providers. Alibaba and Huawei Technologies Co held the top positions with market shares of 31.9 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively, according to market research firm IDC.
Amazon’s decision to close its app store in China coincides with a broader round of job cuts affecting 18,000 employees worldwide, as the company faces slowing online sales growth and potential economic challenges in the US. Despite its struggles in China, Amazon’s main retail website (Amazon.cn) and Amazon Web Services will remain operational in the country.
The closure of the app store adds to the challenges faced by foreign companies operating in China’s digital market, highlighting the complexities of navigating regulatory requirements and competition from local players.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. The motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot, and I'll likely make a film sometime in the future.