Anyone who has tried to purchase foreign brands in China has undoubtedly suffered from sticker shock. This is usually due to tariffs placed on luxury imports which cause items to be 30-80% more expensive than are in other countries.
Enter Sanya’s Haitang Bay International Shopping Center. At 60,000 square meters, Haitang will be the largest duty-free shopping complex in the world. Already a tourism hub in Southern China as a popular beach destination, Hainan’s provincial government is now striving to boost tourism by enforcing a tax-free policy designed to attract not just beach-goers, but also luxury shoppers. According to Jing Daily:
The purpose of the new policy is aimed at competing with many popular beach destinations around the world, which have stepped up their game to attract Chinese tourists with easy access and their own duty-free programs.
The Bahamas made China travel visa-exempt, Thailand plans to scrap its luxury taxes, and Bali has opened up more direct flights from China. Many beach locales, such as Hawaii, are already attracting droves of Chinese tourists for both beautiful scenery and duty-free shopping.
With both beaches and tax-free luxury goods, Hainan takes one step closer towards being the Hawaii of the East.