In the leadup to the long-awaited launch of the Kindle in Amazon, news broke on Monday that Amazon China CEO Wang Hanhua has left the company to join Apple. The news of Wang's departure, which appeared on China's Weibo microblogging platform on October 28th, has now been confirmed, though Wang denies that he'll be joining Apple. Mention has been made of Wang's marginalization within the company, dissatisfaction with Amazon China's localization efforts, and his sense of frustration with an overly-controlling US headquarters. 2012 has seen many companies, including Apple, profiting from China's growing online retail and publishing platforms, while Amazon has been viewed as lagging behind.
Diego Piacentini, Senior Vice President of International Retail, is reportedly here in Beijing now, to deal with the handover. Wang will leave the company at the end of November.
Wang Hanhua, a veteran of Motorola and China Mobile, came on as CEO of Joyo, Amazon's China partner, in 2005.
Amazon's launch of the Kindle in China has been anticipated for nearly a year now – the main obstacle to the launch is rumored to be the slow progress of ebook rights negotiations with Chinese publishers.