According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) said it plans to set up operations in Shanghai’s new free-trade zone. The major move will allow it to sell more merchandise from abroad in China. Chinese consumers will now be able to import bags and books, which normally were available for delivery only in other countries, thanks to a deal with authorities in the free trade zone.
The move will also help the Seattle-based online shopping platform to compete better against rivals in China’s estimated $300 billion online shopping market competitors. Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s major rival in China is Alibaba, which accounts for 80% of the Chinese e-commerce market and which plans to enlist on the New York Stock Exchange already in September this year.
Online retailers are trying to find innovative ways to attract a few hundred millions of Chinese online shoppers, and the newly launched Shanghai’s free trade zone is a laboratory where they can do it. The zone has been opened as a center for remaking the country’s financial sector, as well as opening up shipping, commerce and specialized services.
It is still unclear how the free zone trade will impact Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s payment system or its China sales, which the company does not disclose. Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been quietly building up its presence in China in the past decade, by investing $20 million in Chinese online grocer Yummy77, buying an undisclosed minority stake in the company, luring more Chinese readers to its Kindle e-reader services, and by testing its cloud-computing services in China almost year ago.
“We seek to be the most customer-obsessed online shopping platform with vast selections, competitive price and most convenience in China,” Mr. Doug Gurr, the new president for Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s China division, was quoted as saying in the statement Wednesday.