Article China Reborn
China Reborn 2020
TFWA will host a three-day virtual event focused on China’s resurgent duty free and travel retail market, highlighting the opportunities in the only geography to experience significant post-pandemic growth.

From 1 to 3 December ‘TFWA China Reborn’, organised in partnership with China Duty Free Group, will combine online seminar sessions featuring expert analysis of the latest trends with TFWA’s ONE2ONE meeting service via a new platform powered by Chinese tech giant Tencent. The aim is to help the industry’s brands, retailers, airports and other stakeholders to access up-to-the-minute intelligence while exploring potential partnerships. Details of the event programme, speakers and registration process will be announced shortly.

Haikou International Duty Free CityIf outbound Chinese passengers were the key target group for international travel retailers and brands in pre-pandemic times, the country’s domestic travellers are the ones now driving an impressive recovery in its duty free market. Understandably reluctant to venture abroad where Covid-19 is still widespread, China’s citizens are staying within national boundaries when they travel, something they are doing in increasing numbers. That makes offshore destinations like Hainan Island, with its airport and downtown duty free stores, all the more attractive. A further boost came in July when visitors’ duty free allowances were substantially increased, helping monthly sales on Hainan more than triple versus 2019 to over $300 million.

CDF Mall Haitang Bay
Alongside bigger allowances, Chinese authorities have adopted a portfolio of measures to promote the country’s duty free market. The offshore sector, and Hainan in particular, are reaping the benefits. Leading retailer China Duty Free Group opened its latest Hainan Duty Free Experience Store in the south east of the island on 1 August, adding to two others that started trading in April. In 2022, CDFG will unveil a major outlet in Haikou that will supplant the retailer’s Sanya-based CDF Mall as the world’s largest duty free store. Morgan Stanley’s recent prediction that Chinese duty free sales will more than double by 2025, with off-airport channels driving nearly half that growth, seems reasonable in this context. No wonder global and regional players are keen to learn more about this vibrant market.

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