CHINA. Consumers have reacted eagerly to the new, extended offshore duty free allowances introduced on Hainan island on 1 July.
As reported, individuals can now make duty free purchases of RMB100,000 (US$14,130) every year, compared with the former restriction of RMB30,000. The range of categories has also been extended from 38 to 45, with smartphones, laptops, game players and wines and spirits being added to the list.
“I’m planning to stock up on skincare products and cosmetics,” said Wu Ting, a tourist from central China’s Hubei Province, picking her favourite cosmetics in the shop. “I no longer need to worry about the number of my purchases.”
Additionally the RMB8,000 (US$1,129) limit for a single tax-free purchase has been removed and 30 cosmetics items per visit can now be purchased instead of 12.
State-owned news agency Xinhua carried an on location report yesterday, interviewing shoppers about the policy’s expanded benefits.
Here are some excerpts:
Inside a duty-free shop in downtown Haikou, capital of south China’s island province of Hainan, the mobile phone and tablet counter was crowded. He Jing swiped her card to buy an iPad after a price comparison.
“The duty-free price of this iPad is much cheaper,” said He, a local citizen.
“I’m planning to stock up on skincare products and cosmetics,” said Wu Ting, a tourist from central China’s Hubei Province, picking her favourite cosmetics in the shop.
The new policy raised the duty-free single purchase limit for cosmetics from 12 pieces to 30 pieces. “I no longer need to worry about the number of my purchases,” she said.
Wu has travelled to the island several times, and duty-free shopping is a must-do for her. “Compared with other coastal cities in the country, duty-free shopping is definitely Hainan’s advantage and its main attraction for tourists,” she said.
The policy adjustment will greatly improve consumers’ shopping experience, release policy dividends and enhance confidence in the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port (FTP), said an official with the Ministry of Finance.
China released a master plan on June 1 for the Hainan FTP, aiming to build the island province into a globally influential high-level Free Trade Port by the middle of the century.
Gao Xujiang, Executive Director and General Manager of Sanya Downtown Duty Free Store Co, affiliated to the China Duty Free Group, said the new duty-free policy would trigger rapid growth of the number of customers and operating revenue, bolstering tourism consumption and promoting construction of the Hainan FTP.
“The new policy will enhance the quality of Hainan tourism, and promote the construction of Hainan to make it an international tourism and consumption destination,” said Liu Feng, Director of the Research Center for Free Trade Port with Chinese Characteristics of Hainan Normal University.