Amazon.com in China: Can Elaine Chang Crack the Chinese Market?
Case Code: BSTR541
Case Length: 20 Pages
Period: 2004 - 2018
Pub Date: 2018
Teaching Note: Available
Industry: e-commerce, Retail
Themes: International Management, Entry and Expansion Strategy
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts
Amazon.com, Inc. (Amazon) entered China in 2004, taking over Joyo.com (Joyo) for US$75 million. But in 2017, it was still struggling with less than a 3% share of the Chinese e-commerce market. Analysts pointed out that despite its global growth, Amazon had not been able to make a mark in China. Amazon was facing stiff competition from local companies such as Jingdong Mall (JD), Tencent Holdings Limited (Tencent), Taobao Mall (Tmall) owned by Alibaba Group Holding Limited (Alibaba), etc., despite the scorching growth of e-commerce in China. Apart from stiff local competition, factors such as censorship by Chinese regulators over the internet, restrictions on foreign investment, and counterfeit sellers, were posing big challenges for the company in China. Analysts were left wondering whether Amazon had localized its innovations enough to appeal to the Chinese consumers and whether Amazon had really understood the Chinese-commerce market. Elaine Chang (Elaine), VP of Amazon and Amazon China president, had the big responsibility of streamlining Amazon’s operations in the country and overcoming the challenges.
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