WeChat now allows for real-time tax rebates at 77 airports in Europe and Asia. The service, dubbed We Tax Refund, enables travelers to quickly apply for tax refunds in the app while abroad or once they have returned home.

According to the company, the rebates through WeChat are available in South Korea, Germany, Italy, Greece, and Finland, among others. WeChat also claims that it will not impose any fees on the transactions.

The platform allows for applying for rebates in three ways:

  • At the airport: When departing, users will be required to fill in a tax refund form, get it stamped, and then proceed to the tax refund counter to process the application through WeChat.
  • Downtown: Users can have their tax rebates pre-audited away from the airport and collect their refunds on departure at a refund station.
  • At home: Users who have filled in a tax rebate form and had it stamped before leaving their destination can apply through WeChat and courier the completed form free of charge. The rebate will then be verified and deposited into a user’s WeChat wallet.

Tencent recently announced that it was working with the Chinese government to provide a WeChat-based e-pass for travelers between Hong Kong and the mainland.  The service will allow users to link their ID cards with WeChat to facilitate ease of travel between the two regions.

Chinese tourists made over 130 million trips overseas in 2017, with spending amounting to $115 billion. These numbers represent a 7% and 5% year-on-year respective increase. While just 6% of the county’s population hold passports, the total number of Chinese citizens traveling internationally is expected to rise by 200 million in the next two years.

Christopher Udemans is TechNode's former Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covered Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, cleantech, and cybersecurity.

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