As Juul attempts to penetrate the global market while facing regulatory suppression back home, its products were taken off from China's major e-commerce websites just days after it went on sale on the world's biggest market for cigarette consumption.
The reason as to why Chinese online regulators removed Juul's products was not immediately available and no specific date was set for its relaunch, the US electronic cigarette company said Tuesday.
A spokesperson disclosed that while the company's products are not currently available on the Chinese online market, they hope to resume discussions with Juul shareholders "so we can make our products available again."
Juul, in which cigarette company Altria Group controls a 36 percent share, is also facing increased government inquiry in the local market. The company makes electronic cigarettes which spun off from Pax Labs in 2017.
Stocks of Altria, which has a $1.9 billion stake in Juul, fell 7.6 percent on September 12, the same day that the company confirmed that it started marketing its vape pens and pods via Chinese online giants Alibaba's Tmall and JD.com.
Based on a report by the Wall Street Journal, Juul's electronic tobacco was removed from the two e-commerce websites last week. JD.com and Tmall would not ascertain if Chinese authorities asked them to delist the company's products.
More than 300 million people smoke tobacco in China, and almost 60 percent are male, records from the World Health Organization show. Almost 2.4 trillion pieces of cigarettes were sold in China last year through the China National Tobacco, a government-operated commercial body.
Altria and Philip Morris said that talks for a $200 billion partnership are currently ongoing. The two tobacco companies parted ways in 2008, as demand for cigarettes fell. This deal is at risk of being scrapped by growing regulatory scrutiny across states. Nobody knows when the partnership will materialize.
Altria's ventured into the Asia market was a crucial growth gameplan for Juul. Conventional cigarette firms that are facing weak profits in areas with declining smoking rates have found success in Asia, as governments in the region are not as strict as those in the U.S.
The San Francisco, the CA-headquartered vape manufacturer, which registered more than a billion dollars in sales last year, had already made its presence in South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines.