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China bets on biggest consumer expo to jolt anemic spending

Hainan island plays host as it challenges Hong Kong for luxury shopping crown

People walk past booths at the third China International Consumer Products Expo, in Haikou, Hainan province, China April 11, 2023.    © Reuters

HAIKOU, China -- China kicked off its biggest consumer fair this week with hopes that people like Susan Lim can help rev up anemic spending after years of punishing virus curbs.

The Malaysian logistics clerk and two friends are among the throngs of tourists arriving in palm-fringed Hainan, lured by promotional videos touting the southern island near Vietnam as the "Hawaii of China" and a shopper's paradise with glistening duty-free malls.

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