Amazon is still thinking about when they will launch a Kindle Store in China and it looks like their indecision has left a vacuum for other smaller companies to exploit.
Tech in Asia reported yesterday about iKindle.mobi, a Chinese company which delivers content to Chinese Kindles.
Their service involves scraping blogs and news sites, converting it to Kindle format, and then emailing it to subscribers. The current selection leans heavily towards tech reporting and gadget news but presumably the selection will grow with time. The service is quite similar to what Amazon offers, except iKindle.mobi offers Chinese language content, which Amazon does not.
Really, this company is not much different from many other similar services like Readability, Instapaper (iKindle.mobi’s site design looks like an Instapaper clone), or one of a dozen or more services I’ve seen over the years.
But one detail sets this company apart from the many other services which will deliver content to your Kindle is that they are charging for the service on a commercial scale. iKindle.mobi offers a free trial delivery which has to be renewed each month, but their long term customers have to pay. Prices start at 3 yuan a month ($0.48) for up to 4 subscriptions. Readers can get 6 subscriptions for 4 yuan a month. There’s also an unlimited subscriptions plan for 6 yuan a month.
This could put them in hot water when Amazon finally starts selling content in China.
You might not know this but Amazon does not support Kindles in China (source) nor do they sell content there. So this startup has the market to themselves. How big is that market, I wonder? It’s difficult to estimate, but I know of one Hong Kong based importer who handles 3 thousand Kindles a month, all bound for mainland China. Given that there are enough Kindles in use in China to have spawned iKindle.mobi, I would bet that there are quite a few more devices – possibly even numbering in the millions.
That sounds like it could be good news for iKindle.mobi’s recently launched ebook service.
via Tech in Asia