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But unlike Amazon which requires users to purchase their Prime membership, or JD.com which confers “Diamond Membership” status by offering cheaper prices and better customer service, Alibaba has organised its APASS programme as a private club. Benefits include private gatherings for members or even overseas trips paid for by high-end brands.
In the second half of 2016, Alibaba organised an all-expenses-paid vacation to Italy and France for two groups of APASS members. The tours visited wineries, luxury automotive factories as well as luxury cosmetics and fashion boutiques.
In March this year, seven APASS members were selected to join a luxury tour to Australia, which was partially live-streamed on social media platforms such as Weibo and Youku.
“High-end brands including cosmetics, cars and apparel have paid great attention to APASS members,” said Yan Zhenzhen, head of the APASS Program.
Alibaba is also trying to broaden its APASS base by lowering the level of expenditure to qualify. It recently launched a new measurement called “Tao Qi Zhi”, a comprehensive calculation based on a user’s purchasing power, engagement to the platforms, credit records and other factors.
Those whose “Tao Qi Zhi” score is above 2,500 will have a chance to be invited as an APASS member, according to Yan.
According to a wealth report released by Bain Consulting and China Merchants Bank in June, the number of high-net-worth individuals in China who own more than 10 million yuan in investable assets will reach 1.87 million this year, up 18 per cent from a year earlier. Total assets they possess have also increased by 19 per cent to 58 trillion yuan, according to the report.