After much anticipation, Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) has finally released invitations ‘to Chinese companies’ interested in bidding for its new duty free tender, covering departure and arrivals shops in Terminals 2 and 3.
Prospective bidders now have only until this coming Sunday to submit their offers.
“You cannot operate in China unless you have a duty free license and you cannot get a license unless you are a Chinese company,” said the source, who believes the two clear favourites to win this business are led by the incumbent Sunrise Duty Free and China Duty Free Group – both of whom have a healthy respect for each other.
He added that there is also well established precedent for ‘fast release duty free tenders’ within China, with Shanghai Pudong Airport providing a similar very short lead time from document release to offer deadlines when it last tendered its duty free business.
WHO ELSE WILL BID AGAINST SUNRISE AND CDFG?
Sunrise Duty Free has been operating all of Beijing Airport’s duty free shops under a temporary license extension for the last two years after its original 10-year concession expired at the end of 2015.
The release of this latest bid invitation comes at an interesting time when there are more Chinese companies holding airport duty free licenses than ever before, with the state-owned China Duty Free Group the most experienced.
As is well known, it operates all of the country’s duty free airport shops with the exception of those located at Beijing Capital and Shanghai Pudong and Hongqiao airports.
Lagardère Travel Retail has also got closer to this company since a key executive (Lee Charm Cheng/‘CC Lee’) left to take up CDFG’s new COO role and this, in turn, followed the appointment of the hugely experienced Charles Chen as the new CDFG President last December.
ONLY CHINESE FIRMS CAN HOLD DF LICENSES
Similarly, DFS Group has its long-standing joint venture with the HNA Group, which owns and operates Haikou Meilan International Airport.
So it will be interesting to see if there is any interest or opportunities with either of these relationships – although as mentioned, any future duty free license holder will have to be Chinese.
Other contenders could also include those who already hold airport duty retail licences such as China National Service Corporation (CNSC) and others, although the scale of the business on offer will be a challenge for any newcomer to ‘big league’ airport duty free in China.
(Source: TR Business)