Duty-free products in Hainan province saw 1.07 billion yuan ($167 million) in sales from July 1 to 15, with daily sales hitting 71 million yuan, an increase of more than 30 percent compared to June’s daily sales after new duty-free policies took effect on July 1, Hainan Daily reported on Monday.
The offshore duty-free shopping policies are conductive to build an international tourism consumption center, encourage overseas consumption inflow and enhance people’s sense of gain from the free trade port in Hainan province, though the new policies also create new challenges for regulation, the head of the anti-smuggling bureau at Haikou Customs said.
In Hainan, there is no room for smuggling through trade in goods, said Liu Cigui, Party chief of Hainan province, at a press conference on the Overall Plan for the Construction of Hainan Free Trade Port on June 8.
The southern island province will implement strict regulation via big data and information technologies as much as possible, and minimize the number of inspections to provide tourists with a comfortable and convenient shopping environment, the customs official said.
Currently, Hainan has an information platform characterized by information management, social management and supervision systems, and a port control system with multiple front-end sensing devices that can offer early warning to regulators to prevent smuggling.
“We submit sales data from each duty-free store to the platform every day. Through big data analysis, we can accurately recognize illegal buying”, said Xie Zhiyong, general manager of Hainan Duty-free Co. Moreover, the company provides regular training to employees to standardize sales behaviors, and strictly prohibits employee participation in smuggling.
Hainan has carried out precision strikes on smuggling, with 13 gangs smashed during three anti-smuggling operations which took place in July, May and last November. Over 200 suspects were arrested, and duty-free cosmetics, suitcases and accessories were seized on the scenes, the customs official said.
In addition, tourists who violate duty-free purchase stipulations will face consequences, with punishments including suspension of offshore duty-free shopping for three years and including illegal acts in credit records.