Amazon recently opened one location in Wanda Plaza in Shanghai, and it reportedly will only be in operation for this one weekend. After the weekend is over the building will be struck and moved to Beijing, where it will be open for the first weekend in August.
Amazon's pop-up store might be temporary, but it has all the parts of a real store. Customers can try Kindle and Kindle Fire hardware, ask questions of the staff, and they can even buy a device if they like. EvoLife reported that Amazon was carrying their entire product line, including the Kindle, first-generation and second-generation Kindle Paperwhite, and Kindle Fire Android tablets. They also reported that they saw two stations where readers could enter their age and preferred type of book and get a recommendation.
In contrast to the US pop-up stores, in China Amazon is selling the hardware directly. Here in the US the two stores found in SF weren't quite stores; purchases were made from vending machines. Amazon even denied that the US locations were retail operations:
This is part of Kindle’s ‘Read-It-To-Believe-It’ campaign highlighting the all-new Kindle Paperwhite. The mall integrations at a handful of malls across the US give customers a hands-on chance to try Kindle Paperwhite. In addition, the ‘Read-It-To-Believe-It’ campaign includes both TV and print advertising. You can see the commercials here.
Rumors have been circulating for several years now that Amazon would open brick-and-mortar retail stores. The rumors peaked in February 2012, but so far the closest we have seen were pop-up stores which have since been removed. Since this store is no more permanent than a booth at a trade show it's clearly this isn't the retail store that many expected.
At this point Amazon's physical retail empire only includes a double handful of vending machines in airports and shopping malls, and delivery lockers.