END OF TAX FREE SHOPPING IN THE UK. Find out more what this means for merchants and partners.

Real-time refunds to Alipay and WeChat accounts now available globally

After becoming the first Tax Free Shopping provider to introduce real-time refunds to Alipay and WeChat Pay accounts, Global Blue has extended the service from selected airports across Europe to all of its global refund points.

In 2017, Global Blue successfully launched a major innovation to provide VAT refunds in real-time directly to Alipay and WeChat digital wallets.

The service, an industry-first, was initially available at selected airports across Europe and has now been rolled out to over 700 of Global Blue’s refund locations across the world.

The first VAT refund operator to offer mobile payment

The widespread availability of this service means that merchants affiliated with Global Blue can offer their Chinese customers more choice and flexibility around how they receive their VAT refund, as well as a more seamless experience, speeding up the Tax Free process at the airport.

The immediate nature of the service means the customer enjoys the assurance of a successful refund, as they can see it arrive immediately into their Alipay account or WeChat wallet, in their home currency. This real-time benefit has received positive feedback from Chinese Globe Shoppers and has led to high acceptance since launch.

Chinese Globe Shoppers’ preferred payment solution

Alipay,  part of Ant Finanical Services Group, a related company of Alibaba, is one of the world’s largest online and offline payment platforms and one of Chinese customers’ preferred and most used payment options, with over 520 million active users in China.

WeChat, owned by Tencent Holdings Limited, is the most prevalent instant messaging platform for Chinese travellers, with its popular mobile payment solution, WeChat Pay, recording over 1 billion active users.

Global Blue therefore expects Alipay and WeChat Pay to become two of the most important and popular refund options for Chinese customers.

Tomas Mostany (Global Blue SVP Product TFS):

“Global Blue is committed to offering a wide range of refund options to our Chinese Globe Shoppers visiting Europe. With millions of active users per month, Alipay & WeChat represent together an increasingly important payment channel outside China and we are confident the service will become even more popular among Chinese shoppers. We have built strong relationships with these key partners and we look forward to collaborating on new innovations that will continue to better serve Chinese Globe Shoppers.

Royal Chen (VP, Tencent Financial Technology Group):

“We are very excited to work with Global Blue to roll out WeChat Tax Refund to all of its airport refund points. This will allow WeChat users to easily receive their tax refunds to their WeChat wallet in many countries across the world and will help expedite Tencent’s plans of making WeChat Tax Refund more relevant for Chinese travellers.”

Li Wang (Head of Alipay EMEA):

“Alipay started providing tax refund services via the Alipay app to Chinese travellers visiting 23 European countries in 2015. In 2017, together with Global Blue, Alipay launched the innovative solution for Chinese travellers to receive instant tax refunds via their Alipay app at major European airports and even in-store. As the number of Chinese tourists coming to Europe keeps growing, we look forward to working with Global Blue to create even better experiences for our users.”