CNSC looks ahead to new store openings in 2020

By Andrew Pentol |


Evita Qu, Deputy General Manager, CNSC.

The China National Service Corporation for Chinese Personnel Working Abroad (CNSC) is pressing ahead with the relocation and upgrading of its duty free stores.

This year, CNSC has already opened a new 2,000sq m Dalian downtown duty free store in the city’s Olympic Plaza, which complements its 295sq m arrivals duty free shop at Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport that has been trading since November 2017.

More recently, CNSC also opened its first inbound duty free cruise port store at Tianjin International Cruise Home Port on 10 October 2019. Other completed projects include the Shanghai downtown duty free store (August 2016), Chongqing Airport arrivals store (August 2017) and Heihe border store (July 2018).

TRBusiness has also learnt that CNSC’s Nanjing downtown duty free store has opened on a trial basis and that further downtown duty free outlets in Hangzhou, Zhengzhou and Harbin are due to open by the end of the year.

Evita Qu, Deputy General Manager, CNSC told TRBusiness: “In 2020, downtown stores in Beijing, Qingdao and Chongqing among others will open one by one. Each store will cover an area of 2,000sq m or more. In terms of commodities, fragrances and cosmetics will be available in each outlet, alongside food, toys, household appliances, handicrafts and daily necessities in order to meet consumer needs.”


Qu, who revealed the brand assortment may vary between stores due to different consumption habits in various Chinese regions, is looking ahead to the opening of the company’s new Beijing downtown duty free shop in mid-2020. The 1,800sq m store (pictured below) will be located in the Beijing FUN district, which is 100 metres from Tiananmen Square and adjacent to the Palace Museum, National Museum of China and other famous cultural cites.

Beijing-Arrivals-storeBasement one will comprise lifestyle products, while levels one and two will offer perfumes and cosmetics. Level three will be devoted to the fashion category. The new store will replace the existing outlet in Chaoyang district where the company’s headquarters are located.

She told TRBusiness: “Due to the unique location of the new Beijing store and its Chinese and Western architectural appearance, our Beijing outlet has received significant attention from the industry even though it is yet to open. In such an ancient building complex with profound history and culture, we will attach great importance to cultural marketing, experience marketing and traditional Chinese and Beijing culture, combined with modern commercial culture and contemporary art.

“With the development of advanced 5G wireless technology in the future, we will also do something in the field of intelligent experience.”

Emphasising the importance of the Beijing downtown duty free store project, Qu said: “The new location will bring meaningful value to our brands. This is an important project because Beijing is the most important city in China and is where our offices are. It took a long time to find this location.”

While working on the opening of various stores, CNSC is striving to innovate its DF&TR business model. Qu explained: “We currently have a three-in-one business model. In Dalian, for example, we have an arrivals shop, downtown store and WeChat Mini program. In general, we are trying to integrate different channels (arrivals, downtown and online) so customers can take full advantage.”

She also revealed details of a special marketing programme targeting returning Chinese overseas travellers who have six months to make a single purchase in one of the company’s downtown duty free stores. “As all local Chinese customers can purchase in our stores, we are issuing them with coupons in airport arrivals shops.”


Pressed by TRBusiness on the prospect of opening airport and border departure duty free stores, Qu welcomed the government’s decision earlier this year to allow Chinese qualified duty free operators to bid for departures duty free concessions.

In July 2019, five ministries and departments including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customers issued interim measures for the administration of duty free stores at ports of departure (departures duty free stores). This means enterprises such as CNSC holding duty free licences are allowed to bid equally for the right to operate departures duty free stores in different regions and offer different product categories.  Under the new regime, airports can talk to local governments who will invite qualified operators.

She explained: “The promulgation of the new policy on the one hand is a concrete move taken by the government in support of the development of China’s duty-free industry. On the other hand, it also shows the government’s direction and determination to standardise the market order of departure duty-free stores, introduce fair competition, eliminate monopoly in the industry and make China’s duty-free market bigger and stronger.

“This is a big change in Chinese duty free policy. From now on, there will be a more orderly competitive environment which will help the development of the Chinese duty free industry.”


The CNSC Dalian downtown duty free store is located in the city’s Olympic Plaza.

CNSC was also keen to highlight the development of its arrivals duty free business since the the promulgation of interim measures for the administration of duty free stores at ports of entry (arrivals duty free shops) in 2016. As mentioned, CNSC’s arrivals business includes airport operations in Chongqing and Dalian and its inaugural duty free cruise port store at Tianjin International Airport Cruise Home Port.

“Since the successful opening of our inbound duty-free store at the Tianjin International Cruise Home Port in October this year, the company’s image and industry recognition have been further enhanced,” Qu remarked.

With the operation of departures duty free stores no longer off limits, CNSC will, “actively expand duty free channels on arrival and departure with brand new ideas and approaches and improve and advance the layout of duty free stores in cities.”

Qu concluded: “Relying on the company’s overall advantages and development trend, port duty-free stores (arrivals and departures) will be among our new strategic objectives.”


The new and expanded CNSC flagship Shanghai downtown duty free store opened in August 2016.


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