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Amazon enters Asian market

Online retailer takes on world's second-largest book market

TOKYO — Leading online retailer Amazon.com entered the Asian market with a splash Wednesday as it started business in Japan, the world’s second-largest book market.

The new site, called www.Amazon.co.jp, marks the fourth international site for the e-commerce giant and will offer 1.7 million titles in Japanese and English as it tries to slice out a chunk of the tightly controlled Japanese book market, which has annual sales of about $21 billion.

“We have had a large number of customers from Japan from the first day we opened and that level of supported has just continued to grow,” an Amazon spokesman said.

Japan is presently Amazon.com’s largest export market with 193,000 customers and yearly sales of $34 million. Even with shipping to Japan, English-language books bought through Amazon are often about one-third to one-half the price of the same title as found on the shelves of a Tokyo retailer.