Thousands of tourists thronged to the official launch of a duty-free store in Sanya, Hainan Island on Monday, buying out brand name products including L’Oreal, Swatch, Estée Lauder, Chanel, Dior and Lancome.
Some customers had lined up outside the shop since 5 in the morning, only to find later the products they wanted were out of stock.
More than 60,000 tourists had been expected to visit the store on Sunday, the second day of the three-day “Golden Week” May Day holidays.
Few items were left at the Estée Lauder, Chanel, Dior and Lancome store counters as a salesman at the Swatch store counter told the China News Service his supplies would be replenished only after May Day holidays.
Goods priced below 5,000 yuan ($770) accounted for 92 percent of total sales so far, Hao Wengang, marketing executive of China Duty Free Group told the agency.
“The number of customers who visit the shop daily could reach at least 15,000 and at most 23,000,” Hao said.
Although May is not the busy season for tourism in Sanya, the duty-free policy plus the early publicity campaign had made the city a hotspot, explained Zhang Ruiting, senior investment manager with China International Travel Service Limited’s Head Office.
“The buying spree at the Sanya duty-free shop will last at least a year or two,” he said.
“In the long run, Hong Kong will have a bigger advantage thanks to its zero tariffs on all goods, its rich stock of goods and better services.”
In another development, China’s purchasing managers index (PMI), a key measure of the outlook for industrial growth, dropped from 53.4 in March to 52.9 in April, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) announced during the May holiday.
A reading higher than 50 percent indicates economic expansion, while below 50 percent indicates contraction.
“Overall, the PMI indicates that the pace of China’s economic growth may continue to slow, especially as slowing demand growth causes adjustment in inventories,” said CFLP analyst Zhang Liqun.
By Song Shengxia of Global Times