Customers select jewelry in Haitang Bay duty-free shopping center in Sanya, South China’s Hainan province September 1, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
SANYA - The world's largest duty-free shop (DFS) opened its doors on Monday in coastal Sanya City in the southern island province of Hainan.
The Haitang Bay duty-free shopping center has attracted nearly 300 international brands. For several of them, including Prada, Rolex and Giorgio Armani, it is the first time they have appeared in a DFS on the Chinese mainland.
With a shopping area of 72,000 square meters, the center will replace an existing DFS, which is just one-seventh of the new store's size, in Sanya's downtown.
China International Travel Service Group (CITS) invested 5 billion yuan (about 814 million U.S. dollars) in the center, which is operated by China Duty Free Group under CITS.
The State Council, China's cabinet, gave Hainan permission to run a duty-free program on a trial basis in April 2011 to promote the island as a world-class international tourist destination by 2020.
From 2011 to 2013, Hainan saw an annual 15-percent increase in its tourism revenue on average, with offshore duty-free sales accounting for 10 percent of the total revenue.
Figures from the local customs show that as of mid-August, the revenue in Hainan's two DFS stores exceeded 9.2 billion yuan.