Kindle’s final arrival in China surely has put its local peers on alert. On the same day, one of the biggest e-reading companies Hanvon released its latest reading device “The Golden House” pricing RMB 849 (the same as Kindle’s Paperwhite). Today, e-commerce player Dangdang also updated its e-reader Doukan with a competitive price of RMB 699.
For the local e-reading companies, Kindle’s coming makes them feel complicated. On the one hand, the world e-reading hero might be a big threat to their development in the local market. On the other hand, with Kindle’s fire in China it is more likely to see readers’ attention back to the e-reading products and thus establishing a more mature charging market. Ji Bin, the VP of Hanvon explained that the emergence of smuggled Kindles and iPads in the local market since 2011 accounted for the company’s declining performances in the past couple of years. But he believes that “Kindle’s landing helps the industry to regain the lost confidence. Plus the former cost advantage from avoiding tariff and pirated books will no longer exist.”
Currently Dangdang provides 100,000 e-books for its paid users, however, the reading experience over its device is poor compared with that over Kindle. Staff from Dangdang revealed that the latest version of Doucan has improved itself in adding some new features like payment methods through Alipay, sharing books on SNS, voice input and audio books in which some are not available on kindle.
CEO Li Guoqing recently commented on the current e-reading market that, “The price of books in China is just way too low. In the US, the e-reading device can recover the costs by selling seven e-books, however here it will take like 50 books to realize the same thing.” Though the e-commerce dealer also pointed out that even though the e-reading device does not profit that well, the revenues extracted from the e-books(20%) are still higher that those of the real books.