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Hainan ready for duty-free shopping frenzy

By CHEN BOWEN in Haikou | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-08 09:38

Consumers browse products at the Haikou International Duty Free City in Hainan province in October. The major international duty-free shopping complex, as one of the largest of its kind globally, integrates duty-free zones, offices, apartments, relaxation and entertainment areas. SU BIKUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Hainan launched a New Year's carnival season on Wednesday for its offshore duty-free shopping. The event, with the aim of "holding events every day, offering discounts every week and having themes every month", will last until Lantern Festival of next year, which falls on Feb 5.

Winter is the tropical island's peak tourist season. As many cities and counties in Hainan, including Haikou, Sanya, Wanning and Qionghai, no longer implement "region-specific management" for people arriving from outside the province, the number of searches and bookings for Hainan has surged.

"More visitors to the province will be a boost for its consumer market," said Meng Li, general manager of the Haikou International Duty-Free City shopping complex, at a news conference on Wednesday. "We believe that the growth point of Hainan free trade port's duty-free consumption is coming."

There are six duty-free enterprises in Hainan, with 12 offshore duty-free stores, including six in Haikou, four in Sanya, one in Qionghai and one in Wanning scheduled to open in January. Each store has distinctive products and offers not only in physical stores but also on online shopping platforms which provide flash sales and good deals, according to Yao Lei from the Department of Commerce of Hainan Province.

These stores will also incorporate the elements of the Double 12 shopping festival, New Year and Spring Festival and optimize the layout of these festival scenes by carrying out interactive activities for visitors, Yao added.

The Wangfujing International Duty-free Port in Wanning, for example, will "create a 'tourism +shopping' duty-free platform by combining its retail offerings with Wanning's cultural and tourism features", said Sun Lingling, general manager of the new store. "We will cooperate with well-known sporting events, music festivals, public welfare and environmental protection organizations to provide consumers with a variety of activities."

The provincial government has made efforts to accelerate the development of Hainan's international duty-free economy. The island has resumed international freight routes from Haikou to Paris, Milan, Zurich, Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong. "More routes to Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States will be resumed or established, in order to build a competitive international route network, and make it faster and more convenient for duty-free goods to enter the island," Yao said.

With the help of the China International Consumer Goods Expo, which is held in Hainan annually, the province will actively invite global enterprises and brands to come and share the Chinese market. "It will further gather and allocate industrial resources for global quality goods production and sales, enrich the supply for Hainan's offshore duty-free stores, ensure the duty-free brands, varieties and prices are synchronized, and truly realize buying goods from all over the world for tourists traveling to Hainan," Yao said.

To attract investment to Hainan, the Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development formed a business delegation that arrived in Japan on Nov 27 to carry out a 15-day in-depth investment promotion. The delegation aims to provide one-stop full-process services for Japanese companies and brands to start businesses in Hainan. The bureau looks forward to building a Japanese business cluster in the province so visitors can have more options for duty-free Japanese goods.

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