(Yicai Global) March 10 -- Guangzhou has issued a development plan that aims to build the Chinese city of more than 18 million people into an international consumption center by 2025 by boosting the number of duty-free and departure tax refund shops by four times to 300 from 76 in 2021.
The blueprint, published on March 8, proposes that the capital of Guangdong province should rely on transportation hubs such as Baiyun International Airport and Guangzhou East Railway Station to further expand duty-free consumption, expand the coverage of duty-free goods, and support the entry of Chinese products.
Commerce Minister Wang Wentao announced in July 2021 that Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Chongqing would take the lead in becoming international consumption centers. Guangzhou’s plan is the country’s first in this area.
To build an international consumer hub city, tax incentives and more cost-effective goods are needed, Ding Changfa, associate professor of economics at Xiamen University, told Yicai Global.
Guangzhou’s convention and exhibition sector is a major advantage the city has to become an international consumption center. With platforms like the Canton Fair, the city has always been a national distribution point for high-quality products.
The Canton Fair is mainly for global sales, so establishing duty-free shops can make the consumption of more high-quality goods more convenient for everyone, said Peng Peng, executive president of the Guangdong Society of Economic Reform.
The plan also suggests that to enhance its international visibility, Guangzhou should attract domestic and global commercial investors and operators, build an important distribution center for internationally renowned brands and new product launches, and support global consumer brands to set up concept, flagship, and experience stores in the city.
Guangzhou is a first-tier city with over 18 million permanent residents. Last year, it joined Shanghai, Beijing, and Chongqing to become the fourth Chinese city with consumption of more than CNY1 trillion (USD143.5 million), as its retail sales of consumer goods hit CNY1.03 trillion.
Guangzhou has 551 professional markets with about 800,000 merchants and over 1.5 million staff, according to the development plan. Among them, more than 300 markets have national or international influence, attracting merchants from more than 100 countries.
Editors: Shi Yi, Futura Costaglione