CHINA. The offshore duty free allowance for visitors to Hainan Island is set to increase from CNY16,000 (US$2,300) to CNY30,000 (US$4,314) from 1 December, a move agreed yesterday by the Ministry of Finance, the General Administration of Customs and the State Administration of Taxation.

The news was announced today by the Ministry of Finance and reported by the local government-controlled Tourism Hainan website.

[29/11/Update: Senior travel retailers in China today confirmed the news but said they had no comment to make yet].

The Ministry of Finance unveils the big news, which will serve as a game-changer for Hainan’s already booming offshore duty free business.

The scope of goods covered by the new rules remains broadly the same as before, with the addition of some household medical devices, noted the report.

The enhanced allowance is certain to be welcomed by China Duty Free Group, which runs the acclaimed and hugely successful Haitang Bay Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex; pictured is President Charles Chen at The Trinity Forum in Shanghai, where he spoke about the potential of the Chinese market, including the far-sighted offshore duty free policy.

The move to expand the duty free store offer is firmly in line with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s far-reaching stated commitment to turn the island into an international free trade zone. As reported, Xi made the pledge during a speech in Hainan in April. Xi had promised a more “open and convenient” duty free shopping policy on the island. That commitment was cited in today’s report, which noted that it coincided with the 30th anniversary of Hainan’s establishment as a special economic zone.

Leading brands are leaning on the huge popularity of China Duty Free Group’s Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex to launch regional and global campaigns. L’Oréal-owned skincare brand Kiehl’s began the latest edition of its annual ‘Kiehl’s Loves’ campaign here in October.

As reported, Hainan’s booming offshore duty free shopping industry is set for a further boost with new stores likely to be given the green light soon.

Currently there are two offshore duty free enterprises – China Duty Free Group’s (CDFG) extraordinarily ambitious Haitang Bay Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex and the HNDF Haikou Meilan Airport Duty Free Shop (Hainan Duty Free), which has enjoyed six successful years in business.

Click to open the latest issue of The Moodie Davitt e-Zine, in which CDFG President Charles Chen talks about the Chinese travel retail opportunity.

The far-sighted offshore duty free policy was introduced on a pilot basis in September 2011 to drive tourism to the island as well as encourage domestic consumption.