ABOUT twenty years ago, Amazon started to sell books over the internet, and quickly became the world’s biggest bookstore.
It has since then expanded to sell almost everything else, and of course, also pioneered the sale of e-books, with the introduction of its own e-book reader.
Obviously, as they keep growing their e-commerce platform, one of the most affected would be Walmart, widely considered to be the world’s largest physical retailer with thousands of megastores and malls.
Walmart is retaliating. It has not only tremendously improved its online presence, but now seems to have partnered with the Japanese company Rakuten Kobo to sell its e-book readers in all its stores. It has also expanded to sell millions of titles of e-books in its online platform. This is going to be interesting--a competition between the world’s two Goliaths, and hopefully at the end, it will result in better prices of e-books and everything else.
Meanwhile, in China, e-commerce is not only flourishing, but the internet population has also been reported to now total 802 million.
That means just the number of people using the internet there is already more than the combined population of Japan, Russia and the United States. You could even throw in Canada and Australia for good measure.
However, these internet users face massive internet regulations, including not being able to access Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Google, Gmail, Viber, Messenger, WhatsApp, Netflix, and the like. And they are cracking down even further.
It used to be that for you to access these applications while in China, you download an app called a VPN (virtual private network). These applications will allow you to check in to a server, for instance, in the United States or outside China, and from there, log on to Facebook, or other banned applications.
Right now, it seems China is tightening the reins. For instance, in Apple Store, they are now demanding that Apple not only remove gambling apps, but also applications that might allow the user to ditch or overcome China’s great firewall. Recently, Apple was said to have removed over 25,000 applications from its China store to satisfy their requirements