Incheon International Airport Corp. said the nine companies have sought to take part in the bidding to operate the shops that are set to open during the first half of this year, without disclosing the name of the companies.
Industry sources said that one of the bidders is Dufry Thomas Julie Korea Co., a local subsidiary of Swiss-based Dufry AG, a travel retailer operating around 2,200 duty-free stores around the globe.
The government earlier announced that it will only allow small and medium-sized firms to participate in the bidding for the arrival duty-free shops in a bid to reduce discomfort experienced by tourists and boost domestic consumption.
The bidding by Dufry Thomas Julie Korea is expected to face strong opposition from local homegrown retailers, as retail giants such as Lotte, Shilla and Shinsegae were banned from bidding.
The duty-free shops will be asked to have a higher portion of domestic goods compared with those at departure terminals.
Cigarettes and other products that can affect quarantine procedures will be banned from being sold.
Two arrival duty-free shops are set to open at the first terminal and one shop at the second terminal. (Yonhap)