Amazon Plans to Close its Domestic Marketplace in China by Mid-July
Amazon shoppers in China will no longer be able to buy goods from third-party merchants in the country, but they still will be able to order from the United States, Britain, Denmark and Japan via the firm’s global store
Amazon.com Inc. plans to close its domestic marketplace in China by mid-July, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, focusing efforts on more lucrative businesses selling overseas goods and cloud services in the world’s most populous nation.
Amazon shoppers in China will no longer be able to buy goods from third-party merchants in the country, but they still will be able to order from the United States, Britain, Denmark and Japan via the firm’s global store. Amazon expects to close fulfillment centers and wind down support for domestic-selling merchants in China in the next 90 days, one of the people said.
The move underscores how entrenched, home-grown e-commerce rivals have made it difficult for Amazon’s marketplace to gain a foothold. Consumer insights firm iResearch Global said Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Tmall marketplace and JD.com Inc. controlled 81.9 percent of the Chinese market last year.
“They’re pulling out because it’s not profitable and not growing,” said analyst Michael Pachter at Wedbush Securities. Ker Zheng, marketing specialist at Shenzhen-based e-commerce consultancy Azoya, said Amazon had no major competitive advantage in China over its domestic rivals.
Unless someone is searching for a very specific imported good that can’t be found elsewhere, “there’s no reason for a consumer to pick Amazon because they’re not going to be able to ship things as fast as Tmall or JD,” he said.
Amazon’s customers in China will still be able to purchase the firm’s Kindle e-readers and online content, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing unit that sells data storage and computing power to enterprises, will remain as well.
The U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba and JD.com rose 1% Wednesday after Reuters first reported the move, before paring gains later in the day. Amazon’s shares closed flat.
US retreat, e-commerce showdown
The withdrawal of the world’s largest online retailer — founded by the world’s richest person — comes amid a broader e-commerce slowdown in China. Alibaba in January reported its lowest quarterly earnings growth since 2016, while JD.com is responding to the changing business environment with staff cuts.
It also follows the Chinese e-commerce retreat of other big-name Western retailers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sold its Chinese online shopping platform to JD.com in 2016 in return for a stake in JD.com to focus on its bricks-and-mortar stores.
Similarly, the country appears to factor less in the global aspirations of fellow U.S. tech majors Netflix Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Pachter said.
Amazon bought Chinese online shopping website Joyo.com in 2004 for $75 million, rebranding the business in 2011 as Amazon China. But in a sign of Tmall’s dominance, Amazon nevertheless opened an online store on the Alibaba site in 2015.
The firm is still expanding aggressively in other countries, notably India, where it is contending with local rival Flipkart. (VOA)
Reiterating its demand for ban on festival sales by Amazon and Flipkart, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Tuesday said that the two e-commerce majors are flouting the norms for foreign direct investment (FDI) by carrying out festival sales.
The traders’ body urged the Commerce Minister to look into the violation of the FDI policy by these e-commerce companies and impose a ban on the declared festival sales. It also urged the government to institute an investigation into the business models of these companies.
“Holding such sales and offering deep discounts are clear violations of Press Note No.2 of FDI policy 2018. The CAIT has earlier written to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to ban the declared festival sales by these e-commerce portals,” a CAIT statement said.
“CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal strongly opposed the statements of Amazon and Flipkart that appeared in media couple of days back that they empower the sellers on their respective platforms to decide the prices and offer their choice of selection to customers at the prices they deem fit and offer best value of their products to consumers.
“The said statement of both the companies are devoid of any logic and just an eye wash to keep right the wrong practices they are conducting on their platform,” it said.
Khandelwal also said that these companies are indulging in blatant violation of the FDI policy of the Centre. CAIT noted that the key provisions of the FDI policy say that 100 per cent FDI is allowed in the e-commerce marketplace model and under which e-commerce companies can act only act as technical platforms.
The policy clearly says that e-commerce entities will not influence the prices directly or indirectly and shall maintain a level playing field, the statement said.
“Since these e-commerce companies are not owners of the inventory how can they offer deep discounts on the inventory hold by the sellers registered on their platform. As per policy, it should be the seller offering discounts but in this case the discounts are offered by e-commerce companies which is again a violation of e-commerce policy.
“Such festive sales offering deep discounts are nothing but influencing the prices directly or indirectly which is a clear violation of the policy,” it said. (IANS)