Why Amazon China fell behind Alibaba, JD.com and Taobao


China’s e-commerce market was valued at $2 trillion in 2022, according to GlobalData, and the country also has a rapidly growing middle class, making it an attractive market for American companies.

Amazon entered the China market in 2004 through a $75 million acquisition of Joyo.com, an online book and media seller. The joint venture rebranded to Amazon China at the domain Amazon.cn in 2011.

E-commerce giants Alibaba Group and JD.com, which both own and operate some of the largest and most trusted business-to-consumer e-commerce sites in the country, proved to be formidable competitors who were able to overpower Amazon in China. Among other reasons, both companies’ shopping, payment and delivery systems proved to be more attuned to the tastes of Chinese consumers.

In its earlier years, Amazon pushed its e-reader and tablet product offerings, but China’s complex regulatory approval process delayed their debut, which also hampered growth the U.S. e-commerce giant.

Between 2011 and 2012, Amazon’s market share hovered at approximately 15%, but it later plunged to less than 1% by 2019, according to iResearch. Amazon officially closed its China online marketplace in July 2019.

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