Alipay announced its partnership with Global Tax Free (“GTF”), a tax refund agency, to launch the world’s first paperless mobile tax refund function in South Korea. It simplifies the process by enabling Chinese tourists to apply for and claim tax rebates on their mobile phone app.
China’s mobile payment to reach 650 million users in 2018. Alipay is one of the top mobile apps and one of the most popular payment solutions in China. Alipay and WeChat Pay are also working to bring contactless payment solutions to Chinese consumers without requiring the use of mobile apps.
Alipay reached a cooperation agreement with Global Blue in which Chinese tourists can use Alipay for tax refund while shopping in Europe in 2014. In early 2017, Alipay initiated a real-time tax refund service in Europe which enabled users to instantly receive tax rebates in their Alipay accounts after scanning their Alipay QR code at airport tax counters.
The newly introduced tax refund service in South Korea further simplifies the process by enabling Chinese tourists to apply for and claim tax rebates on their mobile phone app, skipping in-city and airport tax refund counters altogether. After scanning their passports at self-service kiosks prior to leaving South Korea, Chinese tourists can process tax rebates and immediately receive RMB refunds by using the Alipay mobile app to scan tax refund receipts within 90 days of purchasing.
Alipay users can already receive tax refunds at more than 80 airports and a growing number of in-city shops globally after processing at a tax counter according to Danny Chung, General Manager of Alipay Korea. Alipay looks forward to bringing more convenient tax refund solutions to outbound Alipay users.
South Korea is the world’s most convenient destination for tourists to claim tax refunds and approximately 10,000 merchants in South Korea support the GTF tax refund service. The introduction of the mobile service will expedite the tax refund process in South Korea. Alipay and GTF have plans to expand the tax refund service to more merchants and other countries in Asia in the future.
In January 2018, Alipay, along with Global Tax Free announced that Chinese travelers visiting Singapore could have tax refunds deposited directly into their Alipay accounts after completing all procedures at the airport. Singapore was the first country in Southeast Asia to offer this service to Chinese tourists.