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September 22, 2010

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Duty-free bargains for foreign visitors

FOREIGNERS traveling to the city will be able to purchase items at two duty-free shops downtown within the next five years, local officials said yesterday.

There will be a new duty-free shop on Nanjing Road W. in Jing'an District and, apart from tourists, expats living and working in the city will also be able to shop there. But whether Chinese customers will be allowed is not yet known, Xiao Lin, deputy director of the Shanghai Commission of Development and Reform, said at a conference on the district's development plan for the next five years.

Qi Xiaozhai, director of the Shanghai Commercial Economic Research Center, welcomed the move despite the fact that the current duty-free shop on Jiangning Road was not doing well.

He believed that was due to a lack of publicity.

Lu Qi, a local resident, said that when she went to the Jiangning shop this summer she found few customers there.

People can shop there within six months of returning from abroad, but few locals knew that, Lu said. She also said there was a limited number of foreign products available.

Qi also suggested setting up duty-free shops at airports to enable passengers to shop when they fly in from abroad. At present, people can only buy duty-free products when they leave Shanghai.

The city receives about 6 million overseas visitors every year and the number of foreign visitors is still climbing.

Such shops should be popular with them, Qi said.

Shanghai's first duty-free shop opened at the Shanghai Stadium near the Xujiahui area in 2001. The shop ceased business in 2007.


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