Duty-free shopping for all

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2011, 12:00am


Sanya has excelled in its role as the testing ground for the mainland's first duty-free policy. The Sanya Duty-Free Store sold 150,000 items to 47,000 customers in the first month after the new policy took effect on April 20.

The store has attracted 13,000 customers on average each day. In view of the strong market potential, the China Duty Free Group (CDFG), owner of the duty-free store, is to build the world's largest duty-free complex in Haitang Bay in the city.

Under the new policy, foreign and domestic visitors to Hainan leaving the island by air can get a tax exemption for products purchased at the duty-free shop with a value up to 5,000 yuan (HK$6,016). The new policy is also applicable to departing Hainan residents.

To qualify, visitors and departing Hainan residents must hold a valid passport or ID card and provide flight details at the shop.

They need to pay for all purchased items at the shop and collect them in the restricted departure area at the airport. Visitors can make duty-free trips twice a year, while Hainan residents are restricted to once a year.Before the introduction of the new policy, duty-free products on the mainland were available only to foreign visitors, and tourists from Hong Kong and Taiwan, who could get a tax refund of up to 800 yuan of their purchases at the airport. At present, the Sanya Duty-Free Store is the only pilot point for the new duty-free facility.

There are reports that the local government has plans to designate a duty-free shop in Haikou, or to build a new duty-free store in the city.

In view of the strong demand brought by the new policy, CDFG plans to build the 'world's largest' duty-free complex in Haitang Bay. According to reports, the complex will have a total space of 350,000 square metres. It will include a duty-free retail centre, a luxury brand exhibition area, a hotel, and food and beverage outlets. The duty-free shop will be built in two phases, with the first phase expected to be completed in two to three years.