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Amazon re-Kindles tablet war in China; e-book sale could go up

The tablet war isn’t going to confine to Android and iOS only. A country plagued with pirated software and known to have fake iPhones and iPads, has got another OS to compete with. After much delay, Amazon finally launched its hardware devices in China – the Kindle Fire HD, a tablet and Kindle Paperwhite, an e-reader.

The launch is expected to increase the sale of e-books in the country. Amazon had in December last,launched a Chinese Kindle store, with iOS and Android apps for reading ebooks. The store contained around 25,000 ebooks at launch and has now about 47,000 titles.

Amazon announced last month that it will be extending Kindle devices to over 170 countries and territories around the world, and its Appstore to nearly 200 countries in the coming days. Besides China, Fire HD is available in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain and Japan.

Kindle devices will be retailed through Amazon.cn and at its offline exclusive retail partner – Suning and its retail subsidiary, LaOX. Suning, which currently holds partnerships with nearly 1,000 publishing houses and original content websites, will give Kindle an access to this content, which could range up to 50,000 e-books. Amazon and Suning plan to pre-load some of these e-books onto Kindles sold in China or provide them free to download to users.

The Paperwhite with Wi-Fi costs $138 (849 yuan), and the 16GB Kindle Fire HD will sell for $245 (1499 yuan). The 3G models of Paperwhite and Kindle Fire are not available yet.

According to a survey carried out by Chinese Academy of Press and Publication in 2012, amongst 16,619 people across 28 provincial-level regions, Chinese read 2.35 e-books on average and the number of people reading increasing by 65.5 per cent, year on year. The survey also showed that about 40 per cent of the people who have read e-books would be willing to pay for the e-books.

Amazon is on an expansion spree. It last week set its online marketplace in India, which currently though is selling books and DVDs of movies and TV shows. It will, in the coming weeks, add mobile phones and cameras to its online portfolio of products.