South China's Hainan Province has benefited from an offshore duty-free program, with sales revenue in the first seven months this year approaching 2 billion yuan (320 million U.S. dollars).

Liu Pingzhi, provincial chief of finance, said the 1.96 billion yuan figure was up 49 percent year on year as duty-free shops served 662,000 customers during the period.

The offshore duty-free program, put into place in April 2011 on a trial basis, is part of an effort to promote Hainan as an international tourist destination.

Individual tourists and local residents aged 16 or above can enjoy duty exemptions on certain imported commodities worth no more than 8,000 yuan before flying to other destinations within China.

Hainan currently has two duty-free shops, one in the provincial capital of Haikou and the other in the resort city of Sanya.

Lin Huifu, director of the Hainan Provincial Development and Reform Commission, said the province plans to open another two shops in the near future.


SOURCE: peopledaily
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