China Duty Free Group owns and operates the CDFMall, an offshore duty-free shop, in Sanya, Hainan province. Photo:

Sales in four offshore duty-free shops in South China’s island province of Hainan have exceeded 30 billion yuan (US$4.6 billion) so far this year, the Hainan provincial department of commerce says.

Between January 1 and December 14, duty-free sales at the locations surpassed 25 billion yuan and sales of taxed goods reached about 5 billion yuan, both doubling last year’s figures.

Starting on July 1, Hainan increased its annual tax-free shopping quota from 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan per person. The island province has used policy upgrades to boost its economy, with its daily duty-free sales topping 120 million yuan, an increase of more than 200% year-on-year.

By the end of 2020, the duty-free shops are expected to net about 31.5 billion yuan in sales for the year.

Hainan has two duty-free shops in its capital city of Haikou, one in Qionghai and one in its popular resort city of Sanya.

Moon samples

The return capsule of China’s Chang’e-5 probe touched down on Earth early onThursday, bringing back the country’s first samples collected from the Moon, as well as the world’s freshest lunar samples in more than 40 years.

The spacecraft landed in Siziwang Banner, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, at 1.59AM (Beijing Time), according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The recovery team will make initial processing of the capsule and then fly it to Beijing where it will be opened for technicians to remove the container holding lunar samples.

The re-entry and landing started about 1AM when mission controllers uploaded high-accuracy navigation data to the orbiter-reentry capsule combination as it was traveling around the Earth.

Covid-19 vaccines

China’s Covid-19 vaccine development has entered the “final sprint,” with the country preparing for the mass production of vaccines, the National Health Commission says.

China has adopted five technological approaches in developing Covid-19 vaccines, with 15 vaccines entering clinical trials, of which five are undergoing phase-3 clinical trials.

The five include two inactivated vaccines developed by the China National Biotec Group affiliated to Sinopharm, an inactivated vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech, an adenovirus vector vaccine developed by the Academy of Military Sciences and CanSino Biologics Inc, and a recombinant sub-unit vaccine jointly developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Co Ltd and the Institute of Microbiology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Best-performing cities

Lanzhou, the capital of China’s Gansu Province and a crucial link in China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, is China’s best-performing city in 2020, according to the Milken Institute’s sixth edition of its annual Best-Performing Cities China report.

Lanzhou is an example of the green development strategy that China embarked upon as part of its 13th Five-Year Plan, which focused on elevating growth through technological innovation and renewing efforts to coordinate regional development. Having balanced urban infrastructure modernization with improving ecological sustainability, Lanzhou secures the first place, up from fourth position in 2019, in the report. Shenzhen and Chengdu follow in second and third place, respectively.

“The Best Performing Cities China index for 2020 highlights how China is leveraging the economic power of the nation’s three superclusters, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Greater Bay Area, and the Yangtze River Delta, as the architecture to connect and transmit industrial production and commercial activities to smaller cities and counties,” said Perry Wong, managing director of research at the Milken Institute and co-author of the report.

Company news

Huawei Technologies, the Shenzhen-based telecommunication equipment maker, said Wednesday that it plans to expand its in-house operating system HarmonyOS to all of its self-developed products, including smartphones and tablets next year, as the Chinese technology giant accelerates its push to build a robust app ecosystem amid the US government restrictions.

Yang Haisong, vice-president of the software department at Huawei’s consumer business group, said that more than 100,000 software developers have participated in HarmonyOS’ development projects and the number of hardware partners has risen from five to 10.

The comments came as Huawei on Wednesday released a developer beta version of HarmonyOS 2.0 targeting at smartphone app developers as the company works to prepare for transition from Google’s Android operating system to HarmonyOS.

The move is meant to encourage developers to come up with applications for HarmonyOS on smartphones, creating a sound foundation for Huawei to officially use the operating system in its smartphones next year.

The Wilo Group, one of the world’s leading providers of pumps and pump systems, has signed an agreement to build a plant in the eastern Chinese city of Changzhou.

Top executives of the German company signed the agreement with officials from Changzhou’s high-tech zone at a ceremony held online on Tuesday.

With a total investment of US$100 million, the plant will incorporate multiple functions including research and development, manufacturing and distribution, said Lyman Tu, managing director of Wilo China Ltd.

The stories were compiled by Nadeem Xu and Shan Hui and first published at

Xu Yuenai

Xu Yuenai is a Beijing-based columnist specializing in international relations.