The eyes of the world are on Hainan

By Martin Moodie / HICN / Updated: 14:24,03-May-2021


(The Moodie Davitt Report)


69 countries and regions, over 600 companies, more than 1,300 brands. The bare statistics tell their own remarkable story about the impact – and importance – of the forthcoming China International Consumer Products Expo in Haikou. Hainan’s booming duty free industry is under the spotlight as never before and is about to become the centre of world attention.

The event, due to be held from May 7 to 10 has attracted extraordinary support, especially within the context of the global Covid-19 pandemic. At a time when the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE industry) is on its knees worldwide, the Expo’s success underlines the growing importance of Hainan to multiple industries, including luxury, duty free and travel retail.

Every major physical conference and exhibition in the global duty free industry worldwide has been cancelled since the pandemic began, some replaced by ‘virtual’ equivalents like the one my company, The Moodie Davitt Report, ran successfully last October – the Virtual Travel Retail Expo. But no digital event can replace the human pleasure and commercial benefits of being able to meet others in person. The Hainan Expo represents a welcome opportunity for companies and consumers to meet face to face in a safe but exciting environment.


(The Moodie Davitt Report)

Prepare to be wowed. The exhibition hall will be packed with some of the biggest names in duty free. Great alcohol brands such as Diageo (producer of Johnnie Walker whisky), Pernod Ricard (Chivas Regal and Martell), Rémy Martin and Bacardi (Dewar’s whisky) will be there with dazzling showcases.

In the important beauty category, so important to duty free shoppers in Hainan, visitors will be able to view the amazing L’Oréal 500 square metre exhibition space, which reinforces the company’s commitment to sustainability at every part of the design process. In a nice touch, the stand’s exterior features beautiful blue LED light threads that mimic Hainan’s sky and ocean. Many other brands in the beauty and wellness sector such as Foreo and Shiseido are promising some special surprises at the Expo and you can expect to see many new products make their global debut.


(The Moodie Davitt Report)

You better wear comfortable shoes if you visit the event because the Expo covers some 80,000 square meters of space at the magnificent Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center. That includes, I am pleased to say, a 20,000 square meter domestic exhibition area featuring a curated range of products and crafts that reflect China’s outstanding heritage of artisanship. This is particularly important, I think, to the future of Hainan’s duty free industry. While offering famous international brands is of course important, Chinese products should also occupy centre stage and retailers should be committed to developing a proud ‘Sense of Place’, both in terms of Hainan specifically and China in general.

But it won’t only be visitors to the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center who can see the show. The Expo organisers – the Hainan International Economic Development Bureau (Hainan IEDB) – have also unveiled a range of online and offline activities including a dazzling online exhibition which has attracted more than 800 exhibitors from over 50 countries. Expect to discover more than 3,000 items, including fashion & accessories, beauty & cosmetics, food & healthcare products, jade & stone carving ware, local artworks & specialty goods, new energy vehicles, smart devices, and more. Truly a shopping emporium.

When the Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development (Hainan IEDB) announced the Expo, many international observers thought it would be impossible to host a physical show, due to the pandemic. Not only has the Bureau proven the cynics wrong, but it is elevating the concept of a trade exhibition to a whole new level with this grandly ambitious marriage of offline to online. The excitement surrounding the Expo is a triumphant affirmation of the event – and of the Free Trade Port development. Make no mistake about it, the eyes of the world will be on Hainan this May.

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