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Japan's Kintetsu plots duty-free expansion to the 'Hawaii of China'

Duty-free shop in Hainan part of department store operator's overseas growth

A duty-free shopping complex in Sanya: Hainan has been nicknamed the Hawaii of China and is a popular tourist destination.   © Reuters

OSAKA -- Kintetsu Department Store will open its first duty-free shop overseas on the tropical Chinese island of Hainan, President Takuji Akita told Nikkei, bringing the Japanese shopping experience straight to Chinese consumers' doors with an eye on post-pandemic growth.

Japanese retailers relied heavily on inbound tourists to drive earnings until COVID-19 struck. But "bakugai in Japan won't recover to where it was before," Akita said, using a buzzword meaning "explosive buying" that is often associated with foreign visitors.

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