Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings’ online literature arm said on Monday it would pull the plug on its e-reader service, in the latest sign of China Big Tech’s retreat from non-core businesses, reports the South China Morning Post. China Literature said it would end online services for its e-book reader Koudaiyue, which translates as “pocket reading,” by October 26, after which users will no longer be able to purchase new books through their devices. Titles that had already been downloaded will remain readable.
In 2019, the Tencent spin-off launched its e-reader, which featured a 5.2-inch e-ink screen and doubled as a cellphone. At the time, it joined a crowded market largely dominated by Amazon’s Kindle.
However, the proliferation of smartphones, compounded by the rising popularity of short-video apps, has limited the growth potential of specialist electronic reading devices. Tencent itself already operates a stand-alone app, WeRead, which provides subscribers with unlimited access to all titles on its platform for RMB 19 yuan ($2.7) a month.