China voices: how Amazon China flopped

3 min read
A user browses the Amazon China app on May 7, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Eugene Tang)
A user browses the Amazon China app on May 7, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Eugene Tang)

This month Amazon announced an unceremonious retreat from the Chinese market. In 2009, Amazon made up a respectable 15% of the Chinese e-commerce market. Yet the latest market reports put Amazon only at 0.6%. So what led Amazon, which has had considerable success in other overseas markets, to fail in China?

In a longform analysis published recently in Southern Weekend, Zhang Yue interviews a number of current and former Amazon China employees for an inside take on its failure. 
Product Issues
One employee, a seven-year Amazon veteran who requested anonymity, described the early days:
There was only one price and no discount system, so merchants who wanted to discount products had to change the price. But in China’s e-commerce, discounts are the norm—Alibaba’s discount system is

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