For the first 10 months of 2013, Hainan duty-free sales jumped 62 percent to 3.19 billion yuan ($523.8 million).
Hainan, South China’s tropical paradise, had 1.09 million tourists who bought 4.31 million items from its two duty-free stores, according to data released by Haikou Customs and reported by China Daily.
Duty-free shopping was introduced in Hainan in April 2011 in an effort to boost domestic travel to Hainan. Domestic tourists can spend up to Rmb8,000 on duty-free products twice a year.
Hainan’s duty-free stores are located in the resort city of Sanya and another at the capital Haikou’s Meilan airport. Last year, over 11 million people visited the island. The two stores did 170 million yuan in sales during the Spring Festival Holiday in February, up 95 percent year-over-year.
To meet rising demand from domestic travelers, Hainan is building the world’s largest duty-free complex in Sanya called Sanya Haitang Bay International Shopping Centre. The complex will be operated by the state-owned China Duty Free Group (CDFG) and will combine duty-free shops with hotels, restaurants, and other entertainment venues.
“As China has become a huge potential market for duty-free products, prices on duty-free goods in our center will be as flat as those in Singapore and Hong Kong to attract more domestic tourists,” a CDFG spokesman said.
The robust sales at Hainan’s duty-free stores reflect China’s huge appetite for tax-free goods.
image credit: markus bollingmo