China-based fans of Amazon’s wildly popular Kindle e-reader will be happy to know that rumors of an exit from the Chinese mainland are unfounded — with the company telling Chinese media that it is unaware of any plans to leave the country.
The rumors began online on January 4, when a group of netizens noticed that Kindle units were out of stock on JD.com, China’s largest retailer. In what could be described as a massive leap of logic, many Chinese social media users then began speculating that the brand was abandoning its China operations.
The hashtag ‘Kindle might have left China’ (#Kindle或退出中国市场#) quickly began trending on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging platform, accumulating more than 280 million views.
Some netizens suggested that Kindle was leaving because it could not compete with similar electronic reading products from Chinese companies. “Kindle lost its competitive advantages ever since Chinese companies started to make electronic books,” wrote one netizen.
Others were unbothered, with one person noting, “I have been using Kindle to close the lid of my instant cup noodles.”
Nonetheless, some Kindle fans were worried by the rumors, with one posting, “Although I didn’t use mine that much, I am quite sad that Kindle is leaving.”
Fortunately for Kindle devotees, it seems the e-reader brand is here to stay (for now, anyway). In addition to the statement from Amazon, a representative from Kindle’s store on JD.com also debunked the rumors, attributing the out-of-stock situation to inventory problems.
Although ‘Kindlexit’ turned out to be a false alarm, the indifferent reaction of some Chinese netizens to the rumor is yet another example of the challenging environment that international brands face while operating in China today.
Many comments from social media users highlight that Chinese consumers are not as reliant on foreign products as before. And with rising nationalism in the country, some are actively choosing to purchase products from domestic companies over international brands.
Cover image via Unsplash
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