Global Blue and Alipay launch real-time refunds for Chinese travellers


  • Global Blue and Alipay successfully launched real-time VAT refunds for Alipay customers in January
  • The service gives Chinese globe shoppers greater flexibility, enabling them to be refunded directly to their personal Alipay accounts, right after getting approval at Global Blue counters in the airports
  • The technology has been successfully implemented at Global Blue refund points in Milan Malpensa, Munich and Helsinki airports, with a European rollout planned by summer 2017

Eysins, Switzerland, 02 February 2017 - Global Blue today announced the successful implementation of a real-time refund service with Alipay, the leading digital payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, allowing Chinese globe shoppers to claim VAT refunds directly to their accounts.


A new and valuable refund option for Chinese travellers

Chinese travellers are the number one globe shopper group in Europe and have a strong preference for claiming VAT refunds in the airport, with over 70% currently choosing a cash or credit card payment at airport refund points. Global Blue and Alipay have been working together since 2014 across 9 European countries, providing tax refunds to Chinese travellers’ Alipay accounts 5 to 10 working days after validation of their Tax Free Forms, but this is the first time it will offer real-time digital refunds.

Available exclusively to merchants affiliated with Global Blue, this innovative refund option offers their Chinese customers greater flexibility, giving them the option to receive their refund directly into their Alipay personal accounts. Moreover, this new service also improves their in-airport experience and provides them with real-time confirmation of their digital payment.


A simple and instantaneous process

After making their purchases and completing their Tax Free Forms, Chinese shoppers choosing to receive refunds via Alipay can now complete the transaction at a Global Blue airport refund counter.

At this stage, a Chinese traveller simply needs to present the refund operator with a QR code generated by the Alipay app on their smartphone. The operator scans the code, confirms the refund amount and approves the payment to the customer’s Alipay account. The shopper then receives a real-time notification from Alipay, confirming the refund has been deposited to their Alipay account successfully.

Tomas Mostany, Global Blue SVP Product TFS, commented: “Global Blue is committed to offering a wide range of refund options to globe shoppers and this new service will provide even greater choice to Chinese globe shoppers. With over 450 million registered users, Alipay is an increasingly important payment channel outside China and we are confident the service will prove popular with Chinese shoppers, whose use of smartphones when shopping abroad is growing rapidly. We have had a strong working relationship with Alipay and look forward to collaborating on new innovations that better serve Chinese globe shoppers and drive the market forward.” 

The new service has been successfully implemented at three Global Blue refund points in Milan Malpensa, Munich and Helsinki airports in the run up to Chinese New Year, a key retail period for Chinese globe shoppers. Over the coming months, the service will be rolled out across Global Blue’s entire European Refund Network, providing greater flexibility for Chinese visitors across the region.


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Media contact – Global Blue
T: Duncan Skehens, AVP Corporate Communications  (+44) 7909 513 301


About Global Blue

Global Blue pioneered the concept of Tax Free Shopping 35 years ago and is now the worldwide industry leader, delivering Globe Shoppers the best shopping experience and creating value for retailers and partners through a range of products and services:

• Global Blue’s Tax Free Shopping solutions allow thousands of retailers, including most of the world’s best luxury, fast fashion and department store brands, to quickly and safely offer Globe Shoppers savings of up to 19% when shopping in 300,000 stores around the world

• Global Blue’s Dynamic Currency Conversion solutions allow merchants in 75,000 outlets around the world to offer foreign customers a simple and cost efficient way to pay in their domestic currency

• Global Blue’s SHOP is a targeted print and online media platform, enabling merchants to speak directly to Globe Shoppers and attract more international visitors through their doors

Global Blue operates in 51 countries, employing 1,800 people worldwide. From April 2015 to March 2016, Global Blue powered 30 million Tax Free Shopping and 12 million Dynamic Currency Conversion transactions. These totalled €21 billion worth of sales in store.

In addition, through the publication of over 9 million SHOP magazines and maps, and the creation of a wide range of online content, Global Blue helps its retail partners reach and engage with 30 million Globe Shoppers annually.

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