Qianhai, a special economic zone in northwestern Shenzhen, may be home to a “mini Hong Kong” featuring a special shopping mall with Hong Kong brands, reports The Standard.
The Qianhai Management Authority revealed they are currently negotiating with Hong Kong merchants as they showed off the proposed area to Hong Kong and mainland media.
The report states that the Qianhai Management Authority plans to have the shopping mall developed and operational by the end of this year. However, the same report quotes Qianhai authority spokesman Wang Jinxia pouring a bit of cold water on the plan.
“The concept of setting up a shopping center in Qianhai to provide another choice for mainlanders is purely exploratory at this stage.”
The Qianhai Management Authority said the shopping center will be able to ease pressure on Hong Kong from the flood of visitors under the individual travel scheme. However, data shows that mainland visitors to Hong Kong dropped during the Labor Day long weekend, the first such drop since 2003. From May 1 to 3, there were only 388,070 visitors to Hong Kong, a drop of 1.7%.
And yet, others have been suggesting that mainland visitors who want to shop for Hong Kong goods be able to do so without having downtown Hong Kong involved in the process. The Heung Yee Kuk, a rural Hong Kong group, has recommended the establishment of a shopping center in Sha Tau Kok to divert mainland shoppers from the cool parts of town that Hong Kongers frequent.
This all sounds like a good idea that should have been implemented years ago, but one factor still remains unresolved. Wang stated that the Qianhai Management Authority has still has not yet decided whether the sales of Hong Kong products in the new “mini Hong Kong” will be tax-free.
For that, we may have to wait until the end of the year when the mall is finally completed or exploratory plans have been confirmed.