Duty free shops in Hainan province. Photo: people.com.cn

Sales at offshore duty-free shops in China’s island province of Hainan have grown 250% to more than 5 billion yuan (US$720 million) between July 1 and August 18 from a year go after the provincial government increased its annual tax-free shopping quota.

Total sales of single products priced above 8,000 yuan reached nearly 1.2 billion yuan, up 420% year on year.

Starting on July 1, Hainan increased its annual tax-free shopping quota from 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan per person. The number of categories of duty-free goods has also increased to 45 from 38, while the previous tax-free limit of 8,000 yuan for a single product has been lifted.

Since then, more than 740,000 customers have visited Hainan’s duty-free shops, up 70% year on year.

Chen Xi, director of the provincial department of commerce, said the newly introduced duty-free goods were welcomed by customers, with mobile phones, liquor and tablets being the best-selling products.

“It has played an important role in winning back consumers who bought high-end products overseas,” Chen said.

To encourage moderate competition and meet the demands of tourists, Hainan will set up three new duty-free shops in the resort city of Sanya, taking into account the number of tourists, traffic and business infrastructure, said Chen.

Fiscal revenue

China’s fiscal revenue fell 8.7% to 11.47 trillion yuan in the first seven months of this year from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Finance. The country’s fiscal spending declined 3.2% to 13.35 trillion yuan.

Tax revenue decreased 8.8% to 9.85 trillion yuan for the period. Revenue from value-added tax, the largest fiscal revenue source in the country, dropped 17% to 3.4 trillion yuan.

A breakdown showed the central government collected nearly 5.36 trillion yuan in fiscal revenue during the seven-month period, down 11.3% year on year, while local governments saw fiscal revenue drop by 6.2% to nearly 6.12 trillion yuan.

Special fund for workers

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) said a special fund of 554 million yuan (about US$80.1 million) had been allocated to help workers facing financial difficulties.

The fund would be used for families of workers in dire need and in areas that have a large population of workers, the ACFTU said in a circular.

Trade unions at local levels should enhance assistance for workers facing difficulties and support their livelihood including employment, children’s education and vocational training.

The ACFTU stressed strengthening financial security and establishing a backup fund to ensure timely aid to workers.

Company news

Caocao, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s ride-hailing subsidiary, said its autonomous vehicles would be available for sales in 2021.

The company said it wass conducting tests on its self-driving vehicles in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province. It has already been granted licenses for autonomous driving tests.

Caocao said the number of testing vehicles will grow to about 10 by the end of this year, and to several hundred by 2022. The fleet is expected to offer services in downtown Hangzhou during the 2022 Asian Games.

The stories were written by Yang Zhijie and Liu Licong, and first published at ATimesCN.com. They were translated by Nadeem Xu.