September 17, 2019 / 5:02 PM / a month ago

Juul's sales halted in China days after launch

Signage for Juul vaping products is seen on a storefront in New York City, U.S., September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) - U.S. e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc said on Tuesday its products were not currently available on e-commerce web sites in China, days after it entered the world’s single-largest market for tobacco consumption with over 300 million smokers.

“While JUUL products are not currently available on e-commerce Web sites in China, we look forward to continued dialogue with stakeholders so that we can make our products available again,” the company spokesperson said, without disclosing any reason for the halt of sales.

Juul, in which tobacco giant Altria group (MO.N) owns a 35% stake, is facing a regulatory crackdown and increased government scrutiny in the domestic market.

The company is aggressively expanding in international markets including China where it has set up virtual stores on Tmall, an Alibaba Group (BABA.N) site, and on JD.com (JD.O), another major online retailer.

A search by Reuters showed that while it is still possible to find the listing for Juul’s official store on Tmall, when one clicks on the link it says “fails to load store”.

The company’s store is no longer searchable on JD.com.

JD.com and Alibaba were not immediately reachable for comment outside business hours.

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru and Chris Kirkham in Los Angeles; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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