EUROPE/INTERNATIONAL. VAT refund and currency conversion provider Premier Tax Free has teamed up with Tenpay to allow Chinese tourists to claim tax refunds via social media platforms WeChat and QQ, just in time for Golden Week.

Around six million Chinese shoppers are expected to travel overseas for Golden Week (1-7 October). In the UK, Chinese shoppers account for 26% of the tax free shopping market with an average transaction value of €399 (US$477), according to Premier Tax Free, while tax free sales turnover from Chinese shoppers increased +27% year to date in 2017.

Part of the Tencent Group, Tenpay has been aggressively promoting ‘WeChat Pay’, which is currently used across 20 markets. Premier Tax Free and WeChat will offer Chinese shoppers several tools, including mobile, with a choice of refund options at locations including airports and downtown points of sale.

WeChat boasts more than 846 million active users, making it China’s most popular social media app; more than half of WeChat users use the app at least 10 times per day.

The agreement between Premier Tax Free parent Fintrax Group and Tenpay is the first of more upcoming partnerships including digital refund tools for international shoppers in response to the increase in demand for mobile payments and further value-added services for Premier Tax Free’s partners to drive Chinese tourists into their stores.

Fintrax Director of Group Strategic Partnerships & New Markets Gary Byrne said: “We are thrilled to be working with Tencent on such effective digital solutions for Chinese tourists. By working directly with the Tencent team in China we have been able to devise a solution that will continue to draw Chinese shoppers to the UK market and give them greater choice for tax refunds.’’

Eurazeo, the biggest shareholder in Premier Tax Free’s parent company Fintrax, has also been actively involved in the creation of this partnership.