Illustration by Sam Ward In Shanghai, on December 11, 2019 — just weeks before a mysterious virus would be discovered 500 miles to the west — more than 10,000 people crowded into the National Convention Center’s large dark hall. As the crowd waited for Eric Broussard, Amazon’s vice president of international marketplaces and retail, to make his keynote address, the screen over the stage projected the gathering’s slogan: “A World Without Boundaries.” It was the annual “Cross-Border Summit for Amazon’s Global Store,” a conference for international merchants who sell on Amazon’s e-commerce platform. Amazon had just recently announced the closure of its Chinese store — admitting defeat after 15 years of trying to win customers from domestic e-commerce giants like Alibaba and JD.com — but Amazon’s relationship with Chinese sellers had never been better. At the time of the summit, about 46 percent of the 10,000 top sellers on the platform were based in China. Amazon wanted more. On Subscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.