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JD.com, one of the China’s largest e-retailers with 118 million active users is rolling out JD Plus today. It is a premium membership designed to directly challenge Amazon Prime, which has not yet tapped into the Chinese market.

JD Plus is currently an invitation only service, with an annual fee of 149 RMB (23.49 USD). A Plus member will enjoy free shipping (60 times a year), unlimited digital ebooks and other membership benefits like special discounts and rewards.

plusCompared to Amazon Prime which provides video and music streaming, cloud services and of course free shipping, JD Plus is focussing on solely enhancing the shopping experience for now.

The Beijing-based company has put more focus on logistics, which is already a strong point in China’s major cities.

Even though Amazon has not yet brought their popular premium service to China, they have introduced Amazon Family. The China-specific service targets new families and has quietly been running here since June this year. It has a 50% monthly growth rate, and the consumption from the members is twice as much as non-members, according to Amazon China.

For many Chinese customers, the shopping experience as a non JD Plus member is already better than shopping in Alibaba’s Taobao or Amazon China, where you either pay 22 RMB extra shipping fee for a next day delivery or have to make the order up over 99 RMB. JD currently offers free shipping on all orders over 79RMB, and also offers free shipping to designated JD pick up centers and universities.

According to the official JD Plus page, any invited “core user” can enjoy 30 days of use, and the benefits will expand over time. Interestingly, not many e-retailers in China have this type of premium membership, though JD.com’s firm partner, Tencent, has excelled at it.