Better payment services enhance Hainan's role in trade, investment

Lipsticks are displayed at the fourth China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE) in Haikou, capital city of south China's Hainan Province,

April 15, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

Hainan Free Trade Port provides a broad platform for showcasing and trading global consumer goods, and it has continued to consolidate its position as an international tourism and consumption center, a senior official said.

Hainan is at the forefront of China's opening-up, and is becoming a center of trade as well as a hot investment destination, said Feng Fei, secretary of the CPC Hainan Provincial Committee, at the fourth China International Consumer Products Expo in Haikou, capital of Hainan province.

The expo, which saw participation of more than 4,000 brands from 71 countries and regions, opened on Saturday, and will run through Thursday.

Since Feb 9, citizens from 59 countries have been allowed to enter Hainan visa-free for up to 30 days for various purposes, and the favorable policy has attracted more global companies to attend the consumer expo this year. A large number of foreign exhibitors and buyers have felt the convenience of visa-free entry firsthand.

To further facilitate payment services for foreign visitors coming to China, Bank of China has set up an account-opening process nationwide for such visitors on short-term visas, and they can apply for a domestic debit card at any branch of the bank with valid identification documents.

Besides, over 300 ATMs of Bank of China in Hainan help foreigners withdraw RMB notes using international cards.

The ATMs in some key areas in Hainan provide multilingual services in languages such as Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean, as well as small denomination 10 yuan ($1.4) and 50 yuan banknotes for deposits and withdrawals.

Before Sept 30, Hainan aims to build Haikou and Sanya into demonstration cities with convenient payment services, and significantly improve the payment experience in its other cities and counties, the local government said during the consumer expo.

In the long run, Hainan plans to comprehensively build high-quality and efficient payment service systems in areas such as cash payment, overseas bank card acceptance and mobile payment, the local government said.

Meanwhile, the offshore duty-free shopping market in Hainan has been thriving. In 2023, sales of offshore duty-free products exceeded 43.7 billion yuan, up 25.4 percent year-on-year, according to data from Haikou Customs.

Coach, a brand of US-based luxury goods group Tapestry Inc, is participating in the consumer expo for a fourth consecutive year. The company said it is full of expectations about the expo, which has helped it gain strong momentum and share diverse opportunities.

"Hainan continues to take the high road, and we look forward to more in-depth communication and cooperation with our partners," said Yann Bozec, president of Tapestry Asia-Pacific and president and CEO of Coach Asia Pacific.

OSIM International Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based health products provider, has also been participating in the consumer expo for four straight years. The company said it was satisfied with the expo's positive effect, and would like to expand its footprint in Hainan with more new stores.

"The number of on-site orders made at the expo has exceeded our expectations, and experiencing the products on-site has been quite popular among visitors. This will help us to better understand the demand of Chinese consumers and develop more new products," said Yoyo Wen, assistant general manager of Shenzhen region of OSIM China.

Denis MK Cheng, consumer sector leader of Ernst & Young China, said the expansion of the offshore duty-free shopping market in Hainan and the optimization of related policies will enable consumers to purchase a wider range of international products, and enjoy more favorable prices and a better shopping experience.

"Besides, the Hainan Free Trade Port will promote the integration of technological innovation and the consumption market, and enhance consumer experience through technology. It will also inspire companies to be more innovative with new consumption models and experiences such as smart retail and remote healthcare," Cheng said at the expo.