Japan is Global Blue’s #1 country in terms of sales in store (SIS), 90% of which happen in department stores. In the country, Chinese globe shoppers are the best TFS performing nationality.

Back in December, Global Blue Japan piloted instant VAT refund on WeChat in Hankyu department store, Tokyo. Global Blue is also currently working towards launching instant VAT refund on Alipay at 2 other major department stores. Both services will be rolled out to further Global Blue merchants over the course of the next few weeks.

The ideal context

WeChat counts 1 billion daily active users and Alipay 800 million. Yet, Japan still retains a high cash payment rate as the country is well-known for its secure cash payment system.

With intra-regional travels growing and in order to encourage international spend (especially Chinese which represents 70% of the country’s sales in store (SIS)) the Japanese government aims to double the number of cashless payments to 40% by 2027.

Digitalizing the TFS process in Japan is especially relevant as no digital Customs exist in the country. Global Blue aims to be the first company to provide a cashless environment for TFS in Japan.

Creating value for our brands via digital wallets

WeChat and Alipay digital wallets will be able to process payments and VAT refund, offering additional payment options to Chinese customers visiting the island.

For travellers, the process is simple. They only have to present store staff with the QR code located on the app to receive their tax refund in Chinese yuan instantly on their digital WeChat or Alipay wallet.

As for merchants, the store installation is simple, a definite sales incentive and differentiator against competitors.

Full roll out of the solution started in January 2019 and will last until April.