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 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 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.
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.
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.