For China’s international shoppers, who reportedly make 27 percent of all tax-free purchases in the world, buying overseas just became easier. Swiss tourism shopping tax refund company Global Blue announced yesterday its collaboration with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s payment system Alipay, allowing shoppers to receive value-added tax (VAT) refunds directly into their Alipay accounts.
According to Global Blue data, travelers from China are the biggest spenders in Europe, spending an average of 10,773 euros ($14,670) per trip. Global Blue’s partnership with Alipay will allow Chinese tourists to avoid the hassle of having to fill out forms to claim VAT back at tax-refund kiosks when they shop at Global Blue partners, as the card with their details does that for them. Shoppers will receive a pre-completed tax-refund form upon purchase, which when turned in and processed, will allow the refund to be deposited into their Alipay accounts.
Beginning on July 8 this year, 5,000 retailers across France, Italy, Germany, the UK, and South Korea, including luxury department stores such as Harrods in the UK, will offer this service through Global Blue. More countries are expected to sign on in the coming months.
“Chinese globe shoppers are our biggest spending nationality, spending on average 815 euros ($1,110) per transaction based on their VAT refunds processed with us. With UNTWO estimating the number of Chinese tourists to double to 200 million by 2020, it is essential we continue to anticipate their needs and offer a hassle-free tax refund experience,” said David Baxby, CEO of Global Blue, in a press release.
“Alipay is thrilled to work with Global Blue in this milestone collaboration to make it easier for merchants to better meet the growing spending needs of Chinese consumers,” said Sabrina Peng, president of Alipay International. “We are confident that this cooperation will create a more enjoyable and convenient overseas shopping experience for Alipay customers.”
The new refund system will be integrated into existing Global Blue members’ cards, which also comes with series of exclusive merchant discounts and promotions. The press release says that almost 100,000 people in China have signed up with Global Blue in since the membership card’s launch last May. It also says that the collaboration with Alipay, which was launched in December 2004 and is China’s largest third-party online payment service by total payment volume according to China market research firm iResearch, will only help increase membership rates.