Amazon to pull plug on China retail operations: report

Amazon has struggled to compete in China with the likes of Alibaba and JD.com, who are hugely popular in the country. (AFP)
Updated 18 April 2019
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Amazon to pull plug on China retail operations: report

  • Amazon has struggled to compete in China with the likes of Alibaba and JD.com, who are hugely popular in the country
  • It is the latest sign that Amazon would focus its overseas attention on India’s growing market

SHANGHAI: 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 emphasize cross-border sales, and in return we’ve seen very strong response from Chinese customers,” the spokesperson said in a statement emailed.
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.


Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

Updated 26 June 2019
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Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

  • The MF has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy
  • ‘If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained’

MANAMA: IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Wednesday that major economic growth was possible in the Palestinian territories if all sides showed urgency, as she took part in a US-led conference boycotted by the Palestinian leadership.
The International Monetary Fund has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy, with tax revenue blocked in a dispute with Israel which has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade.
“If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained,” said Lagarde.
The IMF chief is attending a conference in Bahrain to discuss the economic aspects of a United States plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, which has already been rejected by the Palestinians as it fails to address key political issues.
Lagarde said for the US plan to work “it will require all the goodwill in the world on the part of all parties — private sector, public sector, international organizations and the parties on the ground and their neighbors.”
Citing examples of post-conflict countries, Lagarde said that private investors needed progress in several sectors including strengthening the central bank, better managing public finance and mobilizing domestic revenue.
“If anti-corruption is really one of the imperatives of the authorities — as it was in Rwanda, for instance — then things can really take off,” she said.
The plan presented by White House adviser Jared Kushner calls for $50 billion of investment in the Palestinian territories and its neighbors within a decade.
The proposals for infrastructure, tourism, education and more aim to create one million Palestinian jobs.
Gross domestic product in the Gaza Strip declined by eight percent last year, while there was only minor growth in the West Bank.
Kushner, opening the conference on Tuesday, called the plan the “Opportunity of the Century” — and said the Palestinians needed to accept it before a deal can be reached on political solutions.
The Palestinian Authority has rejected the conference, saying that the US and Israel are trying to dangle money to impose their ideas on a political settlement.
Washington says it will unveil the political aspects of its peace deal at a later date, most likely after Israel’s September election.