Tan Li confirms world’s biggest DF complex in Hainan

By Kevin Rozario |

Hainan’s Vice Governor Tan Li used the annual high-level gathering of political and business leaders at this week’s Bo’ao Forum for Asia to confirm plans for the world’s biggest duty free and travel retail complex.


The project at Haitang Bay is expected to be 60,000sq m, six times bigger than the existing store in downtown Sanya (below). However it is not clear whether the current high-trading 10,000sq m store will remain open once the new complex is finished.


According to China’s national news agency Xinhua, the Hainan authorities plan to relocate the current downtown unit to Haitang Bay whereas ChinaDaily.com talks of the provincial government planning to expand the Sanya store.


In either case, what is clear is that the tourism island of Hainan at the southern tip of China is keen to ensure that it is regarded as the ‘go to’ place for downtown duty free shopping for both mainlanders and international tourists.


In Haikou, at the north end of the island, and also the provincial capital, plans are also in place to extend the duty free store there from 3,600sq m to almost 5,000sq m.


According to the PRC’s Ministry of Commerce, offshore duty-free shopping in Hainan’s two duty free stores hit CNY 3.29bn ($530.4m), up 40% year-on-year. Downtown duty free retail began on the island in April 2011, initially as a trial, and has proved to be hugely popular.


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