April 12, 2019 / 1:45 AM / 6 months ago

Amazon Japan raises Prime membership fee for first time in 11 years

FILE PHOTO: Amazon.com's logo is seen at Amazon Japan's office building in Tokyo, Japan, August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc’s Japanese unit raised the membership fee for its Prime service by 26 percent on Friday, the first such hike since it was launched in the country 11 years ago.

The new annual Prime membership fee is 4,900 yen ($43.86) versus 3,900 yen previously, Amazon said in a statement. The e-commerce giant did not provide a reason, but pointed to the growing number of services available to members.

Prime membership fees in Japan are far below the $119 annual fee in the United States, helping attract Japan’s thrifty consumers. The e-commerce giant has grown rapidly in Japan, exerting pressure on home-grown players like Rakuten.

While some companies are moving to hike prices in low inflation Japan due to rising labor and shipping costs, they risk being shunned by frugal consumers.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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