China already has a healthy market for e-readers with nearly twenty manufacturers competing for share. Dangdang, sensibly, has stated that they have no intention of entering the hardware market, preferring to focus on their core business of selling books for reading on e-readers, PCs and mobile phones.
Entering this market is still a risky proposition for any company. Counterfeiting of digital products is still rife in China so any seller of digital content must be ready for their products, no matter how well protected, to be quickly cracked and made available to all on the black market. It also remains to be seen how many publishers will be willing to sign up sell their books through Dangdang’s new service. It’s the publishers who stand to lose most if their market share is damaged by illegal digital copies of their books.
This move by Dangdang is bound to be watched keenly by the other major players like Amazon who are yet to launch their Kindle service within China.