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Hainan's offshore duty-free sector thrives with millions of consumers

By CHEN BOWEN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-10-23


Passengers select duty-free products at CDF Sanya International Duty Free Complex. [Photo/IC]

The offshore duty-free sales in South China's Hainan province have reached 202.4 billion yuan ($27.7 billion), with 37.22 million consumers purchasing 268 million items, according to data released by Haikou Customs on Tuesday.

This shows growth since Hainan introduced the offshore duty-free policy on April 20, 2011.

In the last 12 years, the offshore duty-free shopping has grown from scratch, and the scale of the industry has continued to grow, said a representative from Haikou Customs.

In the first three quarters of 2023, the Haikou International Duty-Free Shopping Complex contributed 72.5 percent of the growth of offshore duty-free shopping in Hainan, said the representative. The complex opened in October 2022 and is the world's largest stand-alone duty-free shopping mall.

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. The total operating area has more than doubled from the previous 220,000 square meters to 520,000 square meters.

"I used to go abroad to buy cosmetics, but now I can buy them duty-free and even discounted in Hainan. Even better, the 'buy and pickup' option for the collection of offshore duty-free products introduced in April allows consumers to enjoy and use the cosmetics right away," said a tourist surnamed Cao.

Since the beginning of this year, duty-free stores in Hainan have launched discounts, increased the number of sales events, and created immersive shopping experiences. Local governments have also issued special vouchers to boost duty-free consumption.

To ensure quick customs clearance of duty-free products, Haikou Customs provides 24/7 customs clearance supervision appointments. During major holidays, Haikou Customs optimizes the allocation of human resources, strengthens inspections, focuses on solving emergencies, and makes sure that best-selling duty-free items are examined, verified and released upon their arrival, said Guo Jianmeng, deputy director of the Haikou Customs Port Supervision Department.