In this July 27, 2018 photo, the logo for Amazon is displayed on a screen at the Nasdaq MarketSite. (RICHARD DREW / AP)
SAN FRANCISCO/SHANGHAI - Amazon.com Inc on Thursday
said it is notifying sellers that it will no longer operate a marketplace nor
provide seller services on its Chinese website, Amazon.cn, from July 18.
"We are working closely with our sellers to ensure a smooth transition and to continue to deliver the best customer experience possible," a spokeswoman told Reuters in a statement.
Pulling out of Chinese e-commerce represents a setback for the company in the world’s largest retail market and for Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, known for his willingness to weather losses to achieve long-term gains
"Sellers interested in continuing to sell on Amazon outside of China are able to do so through Amazon Global Selling."
Starting on July 18, customers logging in to Amazon’s Chinese web portal, Amazon.cn, will only see a selection of goods from its global store, rather than products from third-party sellers.
Pulling out of Chinese e-commerce represents a setback for the company in the world’s largest retail market and for Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, known for his willingness to weather losses to achieve long-term gains.
Amazon entered China in 2004, when it bought a local online book seller for US$75 million. Since then, it’s invested in warehouses, data centers, and programs to teach Chinese sellers how to get their goods to Amazon customers. It launched its Prime membership program in China in 2016 with hopes of luring customers with promises of high-quality Western goods and perks like free international deliveries.
Alibaba, JD and other Chinese platforms also ramped up their offerings of everything from American cherries to Australian baby formula with steep discounts. Amazon still has less than 1 percent market share in China, according to iResearch.
Amazon’s commitment to China remains strong and it will continue to invest in the country, according to a company spokeswoman. She said it has been shifting the focus of its online retail business in the country to cross-border sales, which cater both to Chinese merchants selling to consumers abroad and to Chinese customers looking for high-quality goods from around the world.
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