Haitang Bay International Shopping Center, set to be the world’s largest duty-free mall, has been confirmed to suppliers and local media that its doors will open for a trial run on September 1. Located in southern China’s Hainan province, the mall is one example of the region’s massive efforts to keep some of China’s tourism within its shores.
The China Duty Free Group (CDFG), China’s sole state-owned enterprise authorized to operate duty-free businesses, announced the shopping center’s opening at the TFWA Asia Pacific show in May, a duty-free and travel retail exhibition. According to Moodie Report, Zhao Feng, CDFG’s deputy general manager, said that the complex, with nearly 70,000 square meters of duty-free space, will incorporate duty-free shopping deals with food and beverage and entertainment offers.
“Haitang Bay will be a tourist destination [in its own right],” says Feng to delegates, according to Moodie Report. “We anticipate sales that are 30-50 percent higher than our Sanya downtown duty-free store.”
CDFG reports latest figures of a 20 percent growth in total sales volume in 2013 from the previous year, totaling over 6 billion yuan (US$967 million). While CDFG says that China’s travel retail growth rate is cooling down, it is still double that of the international growth rate. Domestic travel retail showed an estimated 15.4 percent growth in 2013, compared with international growth rates of 7.5 percent.
Sanya’s downtown duty-free stores have seen steadily increasing sales in the past three years. The new Haitang Bay International Shopping Center will eventually replace CDFG’s Sanya downtown duty-free store, despite its stellar gains says Moodie Report.