Amazon is planning to close down online retail operations catering to consumers in China, in an apparent admission of defeat to local e-commerce rivals such as Alibaba, a report said on Thursday.
The US e-commerce pioneer will maintain other operations in China such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kindle e-books and cross-border teams that help ship goods from Chinese merchants to customers abroad, Bloomberg News said, citing unidentified people familiar with the plans.
Although dominant in the United States and some other markets, Amazon has struggled to compete in China with the likes of Alibaba and JD.com, who are hugely popular in the country.
This comes despite Amazon's investment in logistics in China and its acquisition in 2004 of Chinese online book seller Joyo.
An Amazon spokesperson did not explicitly confirm the pull-out plans, but said the company was looking to focus more on cross-border sales.
"Over the past few years, we have been evolving our China online retail business to increasingly emphasise cross-border sales, and in return we've seen very strong response from Chinese customers," the spokesperson said in a statement emailed to AFP.
The company was making "operational adjustments to focus our efforts on cross-border sales in China", the statement said.
It added that "we will continue to invest and grow in China across Amazon Global Store, Global Selling, AWS, Kindle devices and content."
Bloomberg called the move the latest sign that Amazon, due to the difficulty competing with Chinese rivals, would focus its overseas attention on India's growing market.