China’s Alibaba has rolled out a new premium membership package – called 88 VIP – that will offer a range of “exclusive benefits”.

88 VIP is effectively a new top-tier within Alibaba’s 88 Membership Club loyalty programme that was launched last year for Tmall and Taobao marketplace customers.

The 88 Membership Club is currently available to Tmall and Taobao users for free. But now they can move on up to the VIP service – for a fee. In a statement issued on its website, Alibaba said: “Users with 1,000 membership points and above will only need to pay an annual fee of RMB88 to get a tier upgrade to become an “88 VIP” member. Members with less than 1,000 points can choose to pay RMB888 for the upgrade.”

The “exclusive benefits” include: a 5% discount on Tmall Supermarket and selected Taobao and Tmall flagship stores;  membership of the streaming platforms Youku (for video) and Xiami (for music): access to the online ticketing portal Taopiaopiao; and use of the on-demand delivery service Ele.me.

According to Alibaba: “The total value of benefits available to an “88 VIP” member across the Alibaba ecosystem could reach RMB2,000. In the future, Alibaba will continue to bring more exclusive offers to its paid members with the aim to attract more users to join this premium VIP program.”

Chris Tung, Chief Marketing Officer of Alibaba Group, commented: “The decision to have an exclusive membership tier is not just about rewarding our most active members, it’s also about building an all-around experience our customers can enjoy every day.”

“The move exemplifies why we launched our membership program in the first place – to provide our customers with not just goods, but also a better lifestyle. We want our ‘88 VIP’ members to enjoy the best shopping discounts, the most-entertaining content and the most-reliable local services that Alibaba can offer.”

So, to summarise, VIP 88 is an annual subscription scheme offering discounts, video and music streaming and an on-demand delivery service. Does it sound rather familiar?

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