Online help document suggests Amazon could bring Kindle to China

by Phil Hornshaw

A Chinese online help document related to Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle e-readers has reignited rumors that the retailer could be bringing its Kindle Fire Android tablet and e-reader line to the country.

As TechCrunch reports, the document has already been yanked from the Internet, although a screenshot was snapped from a Google cache version of the page. Even though it’s already gone, the page does suggest that Amazon has plans to (finally) bring the Kindle line to Chinese shores. TechCrunch says that Amazon’s China division declined to comment on the online document, however.

Amazon doesn’t have a Kindle presence in China, and it’s probably losing money because of it. In its quarterly earnings report earlier this week, Apple revealed that China was responsible for $7.9 billion of the company’s revenue for the period, and has become the company’s second-largest market. Last year, China’s iPad sales brought in a huge amount of money for Apple.

The Kindle Fire in particular has found a niche place in the Android tablet market for Amazon, and that device fills a space that Apple’s device doesn’t – the lower end of the market. The Kindle Fire sports a $199 price tag that’s substantially lower than the iPad’s $499 minimum cost of entry. Just like in the U.S., there’s a whole market in China that Amazon could be servicing that isn’t interested in purchasing an iPad. And that’s to say nothing of the greater e-reader line the Kindle represents, especially given that users report one of the primary uses for the iPad is as an e-reader device.

Amazon has said that the Kindle line is coming to China eventually, but there’s no timetable for this yet. There’s also the question of the Kindle Fire, which is making its way slowly out into the world, but whose proprietary app marketplace, the Amazon Appstore, is still a U.S.-only enterprise.

It seems Amazon will move into China with its popular devices, but sooner is better than later, given how well its competitors are doing there. But we’ll have to wait to see if Amazon is actually ready to cross the Pacific anytime soon.