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Amazon snaps up Chinese etailer

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Amazon.com is moving in on China, by buying Joyo.com, the country's biggest retailer of books, music and videos. The deal values Joyo.com - which is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands - at $75m (£41m).

Said Amazon.com founder and chief exec Jeff Bezos: "We are very pleased to be entering the Chinese market with Joyo.com. In a relatively short time, Joyo.com has established itself as the leading online destination for books, music and videos in China, and we're happy to be part of one of the world's most dynamic markets."

The deal is expected to be completed in the autumn. Even so, the giant Internet retailer doesn't expect the acquisition to have a "significant impact on net sales or operating profit in third quarter 2004 or fiscal 2004".

Founded in May 2000, Joyo.com also flogs software, health and beauty products, as well as gifts and toys online.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), he number of Net users in China as of the end of June topped 87m - up 28 per cent on the year. Of those, around a third are broadband users. All the main figures suggest that more and more people in China are getting hooked on the Net, feeding a notable increase in ebanking and online shopping

But while Net use is growing, authorities have taken strict measures to censor access to material deemed politically sensitive or sexually explicit.

This week, for example, a Chinese woman was jailed for four years for running an online strip joint. Wang Yanli is believed to be the first woman to be banged up behind bars, following China's tough new stand against Internet pornography. ®

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