(Add background, detail)
SEOUL, Dec 17 (Reuters) - South Korea, the world’s largest duty-free market, on Saturday granted four new duty-free store licences in central Seoul as Asia’s fourth-biggest economy seeks to capitalise on Chinese tourist demand.
The world’s third-largest duty-free operator, Lotte Duty Free, was selected, along with affiliates of Shinsegae Inc and Hyundai Department Store Co Ltd and a smaller operator, Korea Customs Service said.
South Korea, which overtook Britain as the biggest duty-free market in 2010, has seen sales nearly double in four years to 9.2 trillion won ($7.9 billion) in 2015 versus 5.37 trillion in 2011.
The 22 existing duty-free stores in Seoul and other South Korean cities reported sales of 6.4 trillion won between January and September, customs agency data said.
Saturday’s decision will raise the number of duty-free stores in downtown Seoul to 13 from 9.
Each licence lasts for five years. (Reporting by Joyce Lee and Hyunjoo Jin; editing by Dale and Jason Neely)