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Shanghai encourages ‘duty-free economy’ as part of consumer push By Reuters


© Reuters. China’s main shopping center in Shanghai is visited July 12, 2021. Image taken July 12, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/Files

BEIJING (Reuters) – The Shanghai government will support companies applying for approval to sell duty-free goods, and encourage duty-free shops to be set up at airports, hotels, malls and other commercial venues, municipal authorities said.

In a consumption plan for 2021-2025, the government outlined plans to create a “duty-free economic” that will promote spending on import products. This includes luxury items, heavily-taxed.

Presently duty-free shopping in China is concentrated in Hainan (a southern island province). Last year, the limit for individual duty-free purchases was increased to 100,000 Yuan ($15.467) from the previous 30,000.

China’s tariffs vary on import consumer goods, and there are higher prices for luxury items like watches and perfumes.

Millions of tourists from China are attracted to Hainan’s shopping centers each year by their significantly lower prices. This is despite restrictions on international travel that resulted in the COVID-19 epidemic.

There are over 300 shops that offer duty free products in the country, selling everything from perfumes and cosmetics to clothes and shoes. China Tourism Group Duty Free Corp dominates the market with almost 200 shops.

An annual amount of duty-free expenditure is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of yuan.

($1 = 6.4655 renminbi)

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