Brands Looking Up To China’s Tropical Duty Free Island In The Hopes Of A Consumer Resurgence

This week, representatives from over 3,000 brands, including Estee Lauder and Burberry, descended on China’s Hainan island to display their newest products in an attempt to capitalize on the post-COVID consumer boom that has already begun on the island famous for its duty-free shopping.

Between April 10 and 15, approximately 300,000 people are anticipated to attend the China International Consumer Products Expo in Hainan, which is seen as a comeback for the tourist destination after it was severely harmed by China’s strict COVID-19 curbs, including a protracted lockdown that stranded thousands of visitors there.

Since 2020, the province, dubbed the “Hawaii of China” at home, has emerged as one of the nation’s top shopping destinations thanks to Beijing’s promotion of its travel retail status.

It particularly took off during COVID, drawing Chinese customers who couldn’t travel overseas because of tight borders.

As a result, even though the country’s economy continues to struggle to recover, a rebound in consumption spending has started off strongly in Hainan since China ended its zero-COVID policy in December. Duty-free sales on the island increased by 20% over this year’s seven-day Spring Festival holiday period in January.

And China has more ambitious intentions to improve its standing: by 2025, the entire island will be duty-free, thereby extending the 10% to 40% lower pricing on things like alcohol and luxury goods from the 12 now operating duty-free malls to the entire province.

High-end international consumer companies are eager to attend the exhibition as a way to show their dedication to China as a result, according to industry experts.

“Last year here was kind of quiet but this year’s expo has been booming,” said Amy Imbriaco, general manager of Greater China for luggage and bag maker Tumi. Some 3,300 brands participated this year, versus 2,800 last year, organisers said.

The largest luxury corporation in the world, LVMH, posted first-quarter sales that were up 17%, exceeding analysts’ projections in large part owing to pent-up Chinese demand.

At the event, luxury car brands like Bentley, Porsche, and Ferrari displayed their gleaming, high-performance vehicles while cosmetic juggernauts like Japan’s Shiseido marketed products with packaging designed specifically for the Hainan market.

Makeshift bars were set up in the wine and spirits pavilion to give whiskey and wine tastings, and Diageo provided soft serve ice cream with Bailey’s flavor.

“This year in particular we feel like every exhibitor is presenting new brands and products in order to capture the opportunity presented by China’s consumption recovery,” said Ella Yu, head of corporate communications for Japanese beauty conglomerate Shiseido in China.

(Adapted from

Categories: Economy & Finance, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Uncategorized

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