Hainan, China is a Top Destination for Luxury Shopping?

Hainan has been dubbed the ‘Hawaii of China’ for its lush evergreen islands, agreeable weather and aloha spirit. But now, it is set to add a new appellation to its list of ever-growing titles – the luxury retail hotspot of the world.

The Hainan International Consumer Products Expo
The Hainan International Consumer Expo was a haven for luxury shoppers
The Hainan International Consumer Expo drew some of the biggest names in the world of luxury consumer goods. Image courtesy of CGTN

The first of its kind, the Hainan International Consumer Expo which ran from the 7th of May 2021 all through to the 10th drew the biggest names from all over the world. Apart from the huge participation of 69 countries, with Switzerland coming as the guest country of honour, the biggest names in the world of luxury consumer goods were duly represented.

Hainan International Media Centre (HIMC) reports that 2,628 premium consumer brands made an appearance.

A gathering of luxury giants
The Hainan expo accelerated luxury shopping with the presence of brands like Swarovski
Not even Swarovski was left out. Image courtesy of Vogue Business

There was LVMH and Kering. Swarovski was present as was Shiseido. Not even Tapestry Inc., owner of Kate Spade, Coach and Stuart Weitzman, was missing.

Brands like Shiseido and L’Oréal used the Expo to introduce new brands to the Chinese market, but they were not the only ones. Swarovski unveiled its new brand identity and store concept under the Wonderlab banner at the event, transforming its exhibition booth into a new Instant Wonder immersive retail store, similar to those just opened in Milan, Paris and New York. Instant Wonder stores are slated to open this year in a number of Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.

According to HIMC, 93 new products were debuted at that Expo, with a total of 550 new product announcements.

The Hainan International Consumer Products Expo as a fecund garden of partnerships
Luxury shopping an partnerships happened simultaneously at the Hainan Expo
There was a lot of luxury shopping at the Hainan Expo, but there was also successful partnerships between brands, suppliers and purchasers. Image courtesy of Vogue Business

Even as brands were recording a high percentage of sales – aided not just by easy access to premium goods, but also by the duty-free policies in place at Hainan – other important commercial activities were taking place. At least 12 suppliers were matched with an equal number of purchasers including Macallan, the luxury single malt Scotch whisky brand which signed a deal worth RMB 100 million with a Shenzhen trade company on 7 May, according to local media reports.

Hainan, a haven for luxury shoppers and travellers
Hainan is a province in Southwestern China
Hainan has been called the ‘Eastern Hawaii’ for good reason. Image courtesy of CGTN

Hainan, a province in the southernmost part of China, is fast becoming a top destination for luxury travellers. Its similarity to Hawaii is a contributing factor, as well as the 200 smaller islands plus the Hainan island that make it up. Each island has its own unique features that set it apart, and visitors can never run out of activities to indulge in.

Its image is further bolstered by the luxury accommodation it offers in its different islands, but perhaps, the biggest attractive factor is its duty-free shopping policy. Hainan currently offers shoppers a duty-free allowance of RMB 100,000 ($15,470), the most generous in the world.

If you are planning to do some serious shopping during your next vacation, or you are looking to make business connections with the world’s top luxury brands, then you may want to ensure it coincides with the Expo. Already, 80% of participating companies plan to attend again next year, including L’Oréal, Shiseidō, Tapestry and De Beers.

As CEO of Rémy Martin Cognac has noted, Hainan “is going to shape the future of travel retail, even luxury.”

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