Global Blue has successfully launched 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 Alipay accounts.

While Global Blue and Alipay have worked together since 2014, this breakthrough marks the start of an exciting period of collaboration, as both companies are currently working on creating an enhanced tax free experience powered by digitalisation

A new 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 refund points. This new service offers greater choice to globe shoppers, encouraging them to shop and spend Tax Free when travelling abroad.

Thanks to a straightforward process, once the Chinese shopper has completed their Tax Free Form, they simply have to present the refund operator from a Global Blue counter with the QR code generated by the Alipay app on their smartphone. Once the refund operator has scanned the QR code and confirmed the refund amount, the shopper will receive a real-time notification to confirm the refund payment was successfully delivered to their Alipay account. 

Commenting on the new service, Tomas Mostany, Global Blue SVP Product TFS, said: “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 is already up and running in Global Blue’s three refund points in Milan Malpensa, Munich and Helsinki airports and will be rolled out across Europe in the coming months.