(FILES) This September 28, 2011 file photo shows the Amazon logo during a press conference in New York. Amazon Studios announced on January 13, 2015 that director Woody Allen has signed to write and direct his first television series. Customer will be able to view "Untitled Woody Allen Project," written and directed by Allen, exclusivley on Amazon's Prime Instant Video, and will be available in the US, UK and Germany. AFP PHOTO/EMMANUEL DUNAND / FILES Image Credit: AFP

San Francisco: The ranks of people subscribing to Amazon Prime service for speedy delivery of purchases and streamed television has topped 100 million, the company’s chief Jeff Bezos said Wednesday in an annual letter.

The new high in subscriptions at Prime, launched 13 years ago, was among milestones from 2017 shared by Bezos in the letter, a copy of which was filed with US securities regulators.

Amazon shipped more than five billion items through its Prime service last year, and logged an unprecedented number of new memberships, according to Bezos.

Prime subscriptions cost $99 (Dh363.33) in the United States, and come with fast, free shipping as well as online access to movies and television shows.

The Seattle-based company has been investing heavily in original television content.

“Prime Video continues to drive Prime member adoption and retention,” Bezos said in the letter.

“We’ve expanded our slate of programming across the globe.”

Amazon offers Prime service in cities in nine countries.

Retail colossus

In January the company raised the monthly Prime subscription price in the US to $12.99 from $10.99, but left the annual cost at $99.

Best known as an online retail colossus, Amazon has the leading system for hosting services or content in the internet cloud and is the force behind the Alexa digital assistant being built into a wide array of devices.

Amazon boasts more than 560,000 employees, and reported a profit last year of slightly more than $3 billion.

The company on Wednesday also announced a collaboration with US consumer electronics retail chain Best Buy to sell Toshiba and Insignia smart “Fire” televisions infused with Alexa.

“Amazon and Best Buy have a long history of working together, and today we take our partnership to a new level,” Bezos said in a joint statement.