海南旅投免税品有限公司(海旅免税)董事长兼总经理谢智勇是海南旅游业及旅游零售领域最具影响力的人物之一。在他的领导下,海旅免税旗下三亚海旅免税城于2020 年底顺利开幕,并在随后的几个月内在品牌和服务方面进行了升级扩张。近日,谢智勇接受了我们的独家采访,与《穆迪达维特免税报告》董事长Martin Moodie畅谈了三亚海旅免税城迄今为止的发展状况,及公司以消费者为中心的服务理念。

海旅免税董事长兼总经理谢智勇

谢总,谢谢你同意本次采访。三亚海旅免税城自2020年年底开业以来,取得了傲人的成就,我在此表示祝贺。请问你如何评价迄今为止该项目取得的进展?

非常感谢你的邀请。从去年12月30日开始,海旅免税城开业至今已有10个月了,对于目前达成的成果,我们还是比较满意的。前期我们主要是将精力放在了引进品牌、店铺装修与设计上面。就招商结果来说,目前我们总共引进了726个品牌,其中有140个品牌是首次进入海南免税市场。目前海旅免税城的招商情况,除了一楼的五个位置以外,其他楼层已经全部招满了。虽然现在还有一些店铺还未开业,但95%的店铺都已经正式开业了。

三亚海旅免税城外观

我们的经营理念是,与中免海棠湾店或其余免税店相比,实行一些差异化经营。他们卖得好的品牌我们也会引进,同时我们也会引进更多他们没有的品牌。此外我们也会增强客户的购物体验,以便更好满足他们的需求。

我们现在正在努力增加一些免费客户体验,比如美容、护肤,此外我们也正在与许多国际知名品牌洽谈合作,以此来完成我们整体的招商工作。我们想做一个不一样的免税店,消费者可以在我们这里买到他们想买的东西,可以得到很好的服务和体验,由此把我们的免税商店打造成三亚极受欢迎的打卡地。在不久的将来,我们会拥有海南最齐全的香水、潮牌、箱包和手表品牌;同时我们也在努力引进一些家具、生活品牌,来满足更多游客的需求。

我相信我们会做得越来越好。

你认为海旅免税以及海南离岛免税业务面临的最大挑战是什么?

作为一家新的免税企业,我们目前最大的挑战是在招商方面。虽然我们已经有了很多品牌,但是许多国际上的一线品牌,如香奈儿(Chanel)、路易威登(Louis Vuitton)、迪奥(Dior)、爱马仕(Hermès)等,都是海南免税市场一直缺乏的。我们也一直想要引进这些牌子,这是一个非常大的挑战。

另外一个挑战就是团队的组建。由于我们还是一个非常新的公司,我们还需要时间去组建更专业、更有默契度的团队。但相信我们很快就会调整过来。

海旅免税的最大机遇又是什么呢?

第一是海南对外开放、自由贸易港的政策。第二,海南是一个国际化的旅游城市,它有得天独厚的气候,常年吸引着众多国内外游客前来观光。第三是海南丰富的资源。

总而言之,海南未来的发展就是我们最大的机遇。

我非常同意这一点。海南的风景非常优美,我期待能在不久的将来再次到访。下一个问题是,海旅在海南有很多竞争对手,尤其是行业巨头中免集团。在这样的环境下,海旅将如何扩大其市场份额呢?

海南现在有五家免税经营主体,我们只是其中的一家,目前最大的是中免。我们参与进这个市场并不是为了来与其他人竞争的,更重要的是做好我们自己,提高好服务,引进更多让消费者选择的产品,尽量与其他免税店有一定的差异化策略。我们会以消费者为中心,一切以满足消费者需求为前提。

我们鼓励我们的客人去海棠湾购物,也欢迎在中免没得到满足的顾客来我们这里购物,我们是开放的,希望能通过共同努力来将海南免税越做越大。

你觉得海旅免税的独特之处在于哪里呢?

差异化本身就是零售企业成功的关键,我们的独特之处就是我们会尽最大努力为游客寻找他们可能需要的产品,把更多中国人喜欢的国外品牌带到海南来,来补充海南市场的短板。

人们经常问我的一个问题是,一旦疫情缓解,中国人可以自由出国旅行,海南免税业将发生什么变化。海南免税能保持势头吗?

这个势头是可以保持的,主要的原因是现在海南免税在世界上的竞争力已经逐渐形成了,一旦疫情反减,国门打开,海南的竞争力可能会越来越强。

另一方面,消费者会觉得来海南买东西更便宜、更方便,海南的吸引力也会越来越大,由此形成新的消费者习惯,使他们觉得购买进口商品就应该要来海南。

海南岛将在2025年完全免税,这将对海旅免税等传统免税零售商产生什么影响?

首先,2025年只是全岛封关,但不代表全岛免税。所以,对传统免税零售商来讲,确实是有一定的影响,不过我们相信会是积极的影响。离岛免税继续保持的可能性还是存在的。

这听上去是一个很好的消息。那一旦政策启动,海旅是否计划启动居民免税业务?

是的,我们已经开始布局岛内居民免税业务。根据政策的情况,预计在今年内可以推出。目前已经完成了一些店铺的装修,做好了初步的准备。店铺会落址在三亚和海口两座城市。

海旅免税与拉格代尔旅行零售及韩国的新罗免税店均建立了合作关系。你能否具体解释一下,这些合作关系是如何运作的?合作性质是怎样的?

拉格代尔只是我们的合作方之一,给我们提供部分商品的供货,我们双方会有长期的合作,他们会把他们优秀的商品和供应链与我们共享。新罗是行业内世界上较为领先的免税企业,有很多优势。无论是拉格代尔或者是新罗,我们的合作关系都是友好的,不会互相冲突。而且我们与新罗未来还可能开展海外合作。

最后我们谈谈未来打算。你对海旅免税的前景有什么看法?对正在观看这个访谈的众多全球免税业从业者们,你有什么想说的吗?

海旅的前景一定是非常好的,我们想在旅游零售业建立一个良好的形象,会努力把自己做成让消费者喜欢又满意的旅游零售商,也欢迎所有的游客给我们提意见。我们一定会努力做好自己,做好服务。未来我们也会提供更多的产品给各位消费者。

我们是行业新手,不求跟别人竞争,只求踏踏实实地做好自己的免税业务。行业排名对我们来说不重要,最重要的是为消费者考虑。

该访谈的视频将于下周通过我们的微信平台推出。同时,读者们可以于本周晚些时候在《穆迪达维特免税报告》官方英文网站 (www.MoodieDavittReport.com)上观看该视频。

HTDF Chairman spells out duty free ambitions

Xie Zhiyong is one of the most influential figures in Hainan’s tourism and travel retail sectors. As Chairman of the Board for Hainan Tourism Investment Duty Free Co (HTDF) he led the opening of the company’s acclaimed Hainan Tourism Duty Free Shopping Complex in Sanya in late 2020 and its subsequent expansion in terms of brands and services. In this exclusive interview, Chairman Xie told The Moodie Davitt Report Chairman Martin Moodie about progress to date and his admirable philosophy that delivering high-quality service to the store’s customers is the paramount goal.

Xie Zhiyong, Chairman of the Board for Hainan Tourism Investment Duty Free Co

Chairman Xie, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Congratulations on everything that HTDF has achieved with the development of the Hainan Tourism Duty Free Shopping Complex so far since the opening in late 2020. How would you assess progress to date?

It’s been ten months since the opening of our store in December last year and overall we’re happy with where we are now. In the early stages, our main focus was on store design and bringing in brands.

At the moment, the store has a total of 726 brands, 140 of which are making their Hainan offshore duty free debuts. Pretty much all of our boutique spaces are now filled. We only have five vacancies on the first floor. Around 95% of all the stores have officially opened and they are permanent stores.

Our main operational strategy is to differentiate ourselves from CDFG and other retailers. In addition to popular brands that they have, we’ll also bring in brands that they don’t have to give the consumers more options.

We are also trying to enhance the services and experiences we offer, as a way to better serve our clientele. At present, we’re working to increase the range of our free customer experiences such as complementary skincare treatments and makeup tutorials. In addition, we are in talks with a number of world-renowned brands, hoping to work with them to complete our brand-mix.

We want to do something different as a duty free store. Here, consumers can find what they’re looking for and enjoy great services and experiences. We want to establish our store into a shopping and leisure hotspot in Sanya. In the near future, we will have the most comprehensive range of fragrance & cosmetics, handbag, watch and trendy brands in Hainan.

We’re also working on increasing our furniture and homeware offering to meet the demand of our customers.

It’s only going to getbetter and better.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges to HTDF and to the Hainan offshore duty free business in general?

As a new player in the duty free market, we face a big challenge in attracting brands. We’ve got a lot of great brands in our store, but when it comes to top names such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Hermès, it’s been difficult to bring brands of this class to the Hainan duty free market. Introducing such brands to our store will be a huge challenge. So yes, as a newcomer, we’ve experienced difficulties in terms of building our brand-mix.

Another challenge is building our team. Again, we’re a new company and it’ll take some time for our staff to build capabilities and understanding. But I’m sure we’ll be a well-oiled machine very soon.

And the greatest opportunities for HTDF?

I’d say that first, it’s the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port. The second is Hainan’s advantages as a tourist hotspot. Its beautiful landscape and climate are very attractive to domestic and overseas travellers.

The third opportunity we have is the abundance of resources that Hainan offers. Simply put, the future of Hainan is our biggest asset.

There is a lot of competition in Hainan with a very established and powerful player in China Duty Free Group in particular. How can HTDF grow its market share?

We are one of the five duty free licence-holders in Hainan, CDFG being the biggest. But we’re not in the duty free market to compete with other retailers; we’re here to be the best version of ourselves and to serve our customers better. And to do that, we need to differentiate ourselves from other duty free retailers. Our top priority is to meet the demand of our consumers.

We encourage our customers to shop at CDFG’s Haitang Bay store, and if you can’t find what you need there, we welcome you to shop at our store. We are always open and happy to work with other retailers to elevate the entire Hainan duty free market.

I too think differentiation is key for the new retailers to succeed. What do you think is unique about the HTDF offer?

Yes, in the retail world, the key to success lies in differentiation. What’s unique about us is that we see it as our top mission to source products that travellers may want or need. We identify foreign brands that are adored by Chinese consumers and bring them to Hainan to strengthen the market.

A question I get asked a lot is what will happen to the Hainan offshore duty free business once the Chinese people are free to travel freely abroad again once the pandemic eases. Can Hainan duty free maintain its momentum?

We believe so, yes. Hainan has gradually emerged in the international duty free industry as a force to be reckoned with. The post-pandemic easing of travel restrictions may very well further boost its competitiveness.

On the other hand, for Chinese travellers, it’ll still be cheaper and more convenient to shop duty free in Hainan. Hoefully over time they’ll grow to think of Hainan as the go-to destination to shop for imported goods.

Given that Hainan island will become fully duty and tax free in 2025, what impact will this have on traditional duty free retailers such as HTDF?

By 2025, the island will be under an independent customs regime, but it doesn’t mean completely duty free. So sure, that will have an impact on traditional duty free retailers, but we believe it’ll be a positive one. It’s likely that offshore duty free will continue to exist past 2025.

Is HTDF planning to enter the residents duty free business once the programme is launched?

Yes, we’ve set the wheels in motion for our residents duty free business. The residents duty free stores will be located in Sanya and Haikou. In fact we’ve already done some decoration work in the stores. The roll-out could take place within the year, depending on the actual policies.

HTDF has enjoyed partnerships with Lagardère Travel Retail and more recently The Shilla Duty Free from Korea. How are these relationships working out? How would you describe their nature?

Lagardère is one of our partners. They supply some of our products. We plan to have a long-lasting partnership, where they share with us their best products and supply chains. Shilla, as an industry leader, has a lot of advantages, too. There isn’t any conflict between these two partnerships. And there’s a possibility for us to open duty free stores with Shilla overseas in the future.

Finally, how do you see the outlook for HTDF, and do you have a final message for the many travel retail industry stakeholders around the world who will be reading this article and watching this interview?

I have no doubt that the future of HTDF will be a bright one. We’re striving to establish a great image and presence in the duty free industry and ultimately become a travel retailer that people like and trust. We welcome any feedback or suggestions from travellers, and are committed to continuously enhancing our services.

We will continue to offer a wider range of products. As a newcomer, we’re not trying to compete with others. We just want to stay grounded and do our best to grow our own business, one step at a time.

We don’t pay too much attention to rankings or numbers. Our customers and their needs are what’s most important to us.

Look out for the video version of this interview next week on WeChat. The videowill first appear at www.MoodieDavittReport.com later this week.