CHINA. 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, The Moodie Davitt Report can confirm.
Several stories in state media over recent days have alluded to a further liberalisation of the holiday island’s duty free policy. Offshore duty free shopping was introduced on Hainan in September 2011 with spectacular success. 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 HNA Group-backed HNDF Haikou Meilan Airport Duty Free Shop (Hainan Duty Free), which has enjoyed six successful years in business.
CDFG President Charles Chen confirmed to The Moodie Davitt Report that further licences are likely to be granted soon for Hainan Island. [We’ll bring you an extensive interview with Chen in a forthcoming special e-Zine edition, dedicated to the opening of Duty Zero by cdf stores at Hong Kong International Airport -Ed].
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. This week’s media reports noted those plans for a free trade zone and the development of Hainan as a tourism destination, with big plans to develop air routes, cruise and hotel infrastructure.
The far-sighted offshore duty free policy was introduced on a pilot basis in 2011 to drive tourism to the island as well as encourage domestic consumption.