China’s duty-free shops are divided into four categories and 10 sub-categories: 1) port duty-free shops (airport duty-free shop, border duty-free shop, passenger station duty-free shop, railway station duty-free shop); 2) in-city duty-free shops (offshore duty-free and in-city entry duty-free); 3) vehicle duty-free shops (airplane duty-free and cruise duty-free); 4) duty-free shops for special groups (foreign ship supply duty-free and diplomatic staff duty-free).
Port duty-free shop
The port duty-free shop is located in the separation area of international ports of entry and exit, selling goods to people who have completed exit formalities, or about to travel abroad or have not yet completed entry procedures. According to the position of port entry and exit, it can be divided into port exit duty-free shop and port entry duty-free shop. Depending on the different ports, it can be divided into airport duty-free shop, port duty-free shop, railway station duty-free shop, etc. Port shops are currently the main force of duty-free shops in China.
Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and China Hong Kong International Airport all have exit and entry duty-free shops. The inbound and outbound passengers can enjoy the service of pre-ordering duty-free goods at the exit duty-free shop and picking up the goods at the entry duty-free shop upon returning to the country.
Border duty-free shops, passenger terminal duty-free shops and railway station duty-free shops are mainly for ordinary inbound and outbound passengers, and the number of such duty-free shops accounts for nearly 50 percent of the total in China. At present, Yunnan Ruili border duty-free shop and Heilongjiang Heihe border duty-free shop are two large border duty-free shops, which take advantage of border trade and usually have various goods. Generally speaking, there are duty-free shops in the larger international passenger transport ports, and their sizes basically depend on that of the port. Duty-free shops in the departure hall of Hong Kong Hung Hom Station and duty-free shops at Guangzhou East Railway Station are two railway station duty-free shops that are worth visiting.
Incity duty-free shops
In Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Qingdao and other cities, there are also incity duty-free shops, which is aimed at foreign diplomats, economic aid personnel, foreign medical teams, labor workers, international students, ocean crew, air crew and tourists who hold valid documents such as Chinese passports and return home for no more than 180 days. The incity duty-free shops often have a variety of commodities and enjoy special discounts for various activities, such as anniversaries and special festivals.
Vehicle duty-free shops
Onboard airplane duty-free shops and cruise duty-free shops target passengers taking international flights or cruises. Passengers can buy duty-free goods on the airplane or place orders on the internet or by phone before taking the flight. In China, Air China, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines have opened duty-free shop services on board. Cruise duty-free shops can ensure that you can buy brand named goods at lower prices. For example, China Duty Free Group and Star Cruises vow to offer passengers branded goods with the lowest price.
Duty-free shops for special groups
Foreign ship supply duty-free shops sell goods to crew at outbound international (regional) vessels. This kind of duty-free shops include Shenzhen Yantian port foreign ship supply duty-free shop, Tianjin foreign ship supply duty-free shop, Xiamen Haicang bonded port foreign ship supply duty-free shop and those in Qingdao, Guangzhou, Dalian, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Diplomatic staff duty free shops’ sales target diplomatic representatives and consular agencies of foreign countries in China and their diplomats and consular officials, as well as other institutions and personnel enjoying diplomatic privileges and immunities. The duty-free shops can sell limited duty-free goods at limited prices which were examined and approved by the staff’s local Customs. Examples of such duty-free shop are the Beijing diplomatic staff duty free shops.