Alipay, GTF shortcut tax refunds for Chinese tourists

Mainland Chinese visitors to Singapore can now have their shopping tax refunds deposited directly into their Alipay accounts after completing procedures before flying home, thanks to Alipay and Global Tax Free (GTF) e-tax refund system.

Singapore is the first country in Southeast Asia to offer this service to Chinese tourists, and the move follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two parties in September.

As well as a shorter waiting time compared to credit-card refunds, which involve a 10-day lead-up time, Chinese visitors can receive their refunds in yuan instantly via Alipay. The service covers all 2000 brands and merchants in Singapore under the Electronic Tourists’ Refund Scheme (eTRS).

“Alipay’s ecosystem of merchants covers shopping, dining, attractions, transportation and entertainment,” says Alipay GM for cross-border business Cherry Huang.

China is a key tourism market for Singapore. Singapore Tourism Board statistics show that the 2.86 million Chinese travellers who visited in 2016 accounted for S$3.5 billion (US$2.6 billion) in tourism receipts, 41 per cent of which came from shopping.

Alipay has already rolled out the tax refund service in 20 countries, including South Korea.

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