About 5,000 shops in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France, such as luxury department store Harrods in the UK and La Rinascente in Italy, will offer Chinese customers the option of receiving tax refunds through online payment method Alipay from today.
According to Chinese third-party online payment giant Alipay and Swiss tax-refund company Global Blue, which jointly announced the new option, Chinese tourists can have tax refunds on their shopping paid directly into their Alipay accounts in Chinese yuan.
Customers need to provide the mobile phone number linked to their Alipay account on the tax refund form and have the form stamped at customs.
After that, they can place the forms in a designated box and will receive the refunds in their Alipay accounts in 10 to 15 days, as an alternative to traditional refund methods of queuing for cash at the airport or waiting several months for credit card refunds.
The tax refund cooperation is expected to make Chinese tourists even more willing to spend in Europe, where the group is already the biggest consumption force, analysts said.
Figures from Global Blue show Chinese customers received 3 billion euros (4.08 billion) in overseas shopping refunds in 2012, accounting for only 70 percent of the amount eligible to be refunded.