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China economy

Chongqing latest Chinese city to give tax refunds on foreign tourists’ shopping

Huge metropolis on the Yangtze River follows the lead of Beijing and others to help woo more overseas visitors

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 February, 2018, 11:55am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 February, 2018, 11:19pm

Foreign tourists can get 11 per cent sales tax refunds on their shopping in the huge Chinese city of Chongqing starting next month, according to a statement from China’s finance ministry.

Chongqing, which is known for its rapid economic growth and spicy hotpot, is the latest Chinese city to offer the tax incentives to woo overseas tourists, following the lead of other cities including Beijing and Shanghai. 

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Chongqing, which grabbed headlines over the downfall of its former Communist Party bosses Bo Xilai and Sun Zhengcai on corruption charges, has been striving to become a regional magnet for foreign investors and tourists on the back of its shipping and finance industry.

It is also positioning itself as a gateway for China’s international infrastructure and trade push known as the “Belt and Road Initiative”. 

The municipality’s economy expanded 9.3 per cent in 2017, ending a 15-year streak of double-digit growth. Chongqing catered for 3.6 million tourists last year, an increase of 13.2 per cent on the previous year.

The tropical island of Hainan started offering overseas tourists sales tax refunds in 2011. 

China’s state taxation authority began to allow other Chinese cities to provide a similar incentive to boost inbound tourists in 2015.

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The tax refund system has extended to 23 provinces to date, including the inland provinces of Gansu and Henan.

Foreign tourists and visitors from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan who stay on the Chinese mainland for fewer than 183 days are entitled to an 11 per cent rebate after spending at least 500 yuan (US$80) at one designated store per day. The refund is valid for purchases made up to 90 days before departure.