Amazon will be exiting China and releasing an official statement on the matter this week, as insiders have told Chinese media. Actual date of disclosure is unknown.
Numerous Amazon China employees have already begun to look for new job opportunities.
“There aren’t many choices out there. It’s either JD.com, Alibaba, Xiaomi, Suning, small startups, or various traditional retail companies,” said a family member of an Amazon employee.
Amazon won’t be withdrawing from China completely. Its Kindle business sector will likely remain, while every other sector including its major e-commerce arm will be pulled out.
“Gave me a real scare. I’m glad business can continue,” said an employee of a Shenzhen firm dealing with imports and exports using Amazon’s platform. “Cross-border trade may not continue for long either. Its days here will be over soon too.”
The past 15 years have seen rise and fall of Amazon expanding into the China market.
By acquiring Joyo for $75 million in 2004, the biggest Chinese online book seller, Amazon began its journey. In 2008, Amazon’s China market share was roughly 15.4 percent. The company then rebranded as Amazon China in 2011.
Last year, however, Amazon China’s market share has plummeted to 0.6 percent, according to a research intelligence firm Analysys International.
Even though Amazon brought its Prime Membership services from the United States to China in 2016 to better serve the Chinese audience, the global e-commerce juggernaut was never quite able to replicate its success in China where big guns like Alibaba and JD.com dominate.
Like Google, Facebook and eBay, Amazon may be the newest name to be added to the list of multinational companies failed to establish a commanding foothold for strong local competition.
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