After plenty of rumors and repeated delays, Amazon’s devices have finally landed on China’s shores.
We earlier reported that Sina Tech said the Kindle e-reader and Fire HD would be launched in China on June 7, and Amazon has delivered: the Kindle has gone on sale and is now being featured prominently on Amazon’s Chinese website (first spotted by Tech in Asia).
The Kindle Paperwhite with Wifi is retailing for 849 yuan ($138) on Amazon’s website now, while the 16 GB Kindle Fire HD is being sold for 1499 yuan ($244) and the 32GB version is going for 1799 yuan ($293). Currently there is no sign of the other Amazon devices – the 3G Kindle Paperwhite or the Kindle Fire – but they could possibly be released later, considering that Amazon has been expected to launch its full range of devices in the country.
A Sina Tech report said today that Suning has been confirmed as the sole official retail channel for Kindle devices in China, and the Kindle will be sold at Suning stores across several Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai. Amazon is also reportedly collaborating with Suning on content development, given that the Chinese company has already established partnerships with nearly 1000 publishers and literature sites in the country.
Amazon’s Kindle launch in China has been plagued with problems, as the company seeks to stave off challenges related to rampant piracy in the country that has made Chinese consumers unused to paying for digital content. Chinese media reports have said that, over the past few months, Amazon has shut down Chinese site Ikandou’s download channels for Kindle eBooks, and clamped down on Douban’s Kindle function.
Amazon last year quietly launched Chinese versions of its Kindle apps for iOS and Android and a localized Kindle electronic bookstore, hinting that the Kindle would arrive imminently, but a credible rumor that it would launch on April 16 this year came and went without any news. Earlier this month, Amazon opened its Android-oriented Appstore in China, clearing the way for it to sell its own hardware in the country.