Duty-free shopping is as commonplace an airport experiences for most travellers these days as checking in: sometimes passengers can happily occupy their time browsing the deals before boarding their flight; sometimes they can pass it by without a second glance. In Hainan, a small island province in Southern China, the concept is relatively new, with duty-free shopping having only started on a trial basis in April 2011; however, developers are about to take it to a whole new level.
This island is a popular destination and the local tourism industry wants to make the most of this fact by creating a vast complex that brings together duty-free shopping, accommodation, dining and entertainment opportunities under one roof. Such DFS shopping experiences already exist in Hainan but officials want to extend the establishment in the capital, Haikou, from 3.650 to 4,880 square metres, and relocate the current 10,000 square meter mall in the resort city of Sanya to a new, 60,000 facility in Haitang Bay.
Creating the world largest DFS store to put Hainan firmly on the map.
The reason behind this vast redevelopment is not simply so the state council can boast that Hainan has the largest duty-fee shop in the world – even though this will be the case if the Sanya Haitang Bay International Shopping Mall is built to the current specification – but rather because they want to make the most of the trend's recent success and build better international relations. In 2013, duty-free shopping in the two current stores brought in an astonishing 3.29 billion yuan (the equivalent of 530.6 million dollars), which was a 40% rise on 2012's figure. By relocating the Sanya store and increasing the floorspace of both malls, it is hoped that the region will gather more interest overseas, with new international brands setting up in these new units, and these figures will continue to rise.