Amazon China's mission to lure Chinese away from smartphones and onto the Kindle

Amazon China is hoping to encourage consumers to put down the smartphone and pick up a Kindle in a new online campaign.

However, that is no easy feat in the world’s largest smartphone market, where 68% of China’s 1.3 billion people are reported to own a smartphone.

With Chinese adults estimated to spend 1 hour 30 minutes on their phone daily, and increased competition in the ebook market from Chinese apps, Amazon is hoping to drive Kindle sales by reigniting people’s passion for reading.

The new campaign, which was created by Leo Burnett Shanghai, aims to promote awareness of the Kindle as a dedicated device to indulge Chinese consumers passion for books.

Angie Wong, managing director of Leo Burnett Shanghai, told The Drum the campaign was informed by the rapid change in people’s reading habits over the last five years.

“People’s attention spans have become shorter and entertainment has become very fragmented. Even when you are on a smartphone there are so many distractions and you are doing many different things, you are reading news, looking at WeChat moments, watching videos, shopping, etc.

“We found the time spent reading and the quality of reading is decreasing dramatically. In China, you seldom see people with a physical book anywhere, whether it’s on a plane, the metro or a bus. Compared to a neighbouring market like Japan, where you often see many people reading physical books,” said Wong.

Leo Burnett Shanghai discovered that although people were spending less time reading, the passion for reading remained strong, particularly in the brand's target market of people aged 30 years and over.

“We found that people, particularly those in their 30s, loved to read as kids and had strong memories of reading. Given the social situation in China in those days, reading was almost all of the entertainment that they had. We believe there is an opportunity to reignite this passion people have for reading through a Kindle device.”

The Amazon Kindle campaign launched this week with online video, out-of-home, digital advertising and social media. It marks the first time Leo Burnett Shanghai has worked with Amazon China, although the agency has worked with the company in other markets including the USA and India.

Amazon has been in China since 2004 when it bought the country’s biggest online bookseller Joyo.com for $75 million. Amazon China launched the Kindle in June 2013 after updating its app store to include Chinese language support.

In addition to Amazon.cn, the brand has stores on Alibaba's Tmall, where it sells products including a Kindle store, and launched its Prime service in November.

Amazon China has a 0.8% share of China’s ecommerce market, which is dominated by Tmall, which controls 56.6% and JD.com, which holds 24.7%, according to iResearch China.

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