China investigating Amazon's e-book business

The General Administration of Press and Publication of China is looking into whether the U.S. company flouted local laws by piggybacking on the sales license of its Chinese partner, Chineseall.com.

Within a day of the launch of Amazon's Kindle Store in China, local authorities have started investigating the company's right to sell e-books in the country.

A Sohu IT report Friday said the General Administration of Press and Publication of China (GAPP) has launched an investigation looking into Amazon and its Chinese partner, Chineseall.com, and whether they have violated regulations in selling digital publications.

Citing Wang Qiang, director of digital publishing at the GAPP's Technology and Digital Publishing Division, the report said the division is investigating Amazon's use of Chineseall.com's e-book sales license. On the Kindle Store homepage, Amazon stated: "Chineseall.com is providing operation support for the Kindle Store", which the news site interpreted to mean the U.S. company was using its Chinese partner's license to operate. 

Wang said Amazon had applied for a business licence for its Kindle Store in China, but it is yet to be approved. The divison started investigations on Thursday and has contacted staff from Amazon and Chineseall.com for more information, he added.

The report also noted regulations set by GAPP dictates that any company in the digital publishing field in China must obtain at least one of the four licenses for publishing, copying, distributing or importing e-books in order to legally operate the business.

The U.S. company launched the Kindle Store in China on Thursday, and while its e-reader device is not yet available in the country , local users can read e-books bought from the Store using the Kindle app on Apple's iOS and Google's Android devices. The e-book service appears to still be up and running at the time of publication.

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