MILAN — They aim to please: online payment service provider Alipay and international shopping firm Global Blue are collaborating to simplify value-added tax reimbursements for Chinese tourists. Instead of having to fill out numerous forms by hand, customers will be able to receive refunds directly in their Alipay accounts starting July 8 at 5,000 Global Blue retail partners, including Harrods in the UK, KaDeWe in Germany and La Rinascente in Italy. Participating countries also include France and South Korea, and more are expected to join by the end of the year.
“Chinese shoppers are our biggest spending nationality, spending on average 815 euros [about $1,108 at current exchange] per transaction based on their VAT refunds processed with us,” said Global Blue chief executive officer David Baxby. “With the United Nations World Tourism Organization 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.” He noted that Alipay users would still be able to opt for credit card or cash reimbursements.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"