Amazon quietly launched its Appstore in China this weekend in a surprise move that paves the way for the rollout of Kindle devices in that country.
At the same time, Amazon also debuted its Chinese-language Web site for developers (link via Google Translate), promising that they will soon have access to customers in 200 countries.
A Sina Tech article (link via Google Translate) outlined why the Amazon Appstore might be an attractive alternative to Google Play for Chinese developers. Reasons include: easier access (Google Play isn’t widely available in China and most developers sell through third-party app stores); a more open and “friendly” environment (the article cited Kongregate’s 2011 ban as an example of problems with Google Play’s TOS); a worldwide customer base; and an attractive revenue sharing model.
China had not been included in the list of 200 countries, including Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea, that Amazon recently said it would bring the Appstore to. In addition to the Kindle reading app and e-books, messaging apps are currently available for download, as well as popular games like Angry Birds and Temple Run. Amazon says it will offer popular games and apps from Chinese developers like Tencent and Sina.
The launch of the Amazon Appstore in China comes less than a month after the company rolled out Cloud Drive there. The Kindle Store was launched in China at the end of last year, at the same time the Kindle iPhone and iPad apps became available to download for users in that country.
There have been years of speculation that Amazon will finally release Kindle hardware in China, but the launch of its Amazon Appstore there is the most concrete step so far. Another clue is the possibility that a $99 Kindle Fire 7″ tablet will begin shipping this year. The low price point would help the device compete in China, where tablets are often sold for less than $100.