QR codes are necessary for the Chinese business and consumer markets
QR codes, an abbreviation of Quick Response codes, have been around since 1994. In 2000, QR codes international standards were published, and QR codes became widely available.
QR code is a method of "barcoding" a string of data. You can use QR codes for website, email address, APP address, WeChat information, etc.
In the western countries at the outset, QR codes were not used widely. Just sharing a small amount of data by voice, email, text, etc. was straightforward, "Our website is www.accesstochina.com" My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and so on.
Typically, there is a simple assumption that we all speak English and use a Latin alphabet!
Not the case;
مرحباγεια σας, 你好, Привет
In the first part of this century, China started growing its technology. As this technology became widely available to the public, the use of Latin characters was an issue. Small words in Latin characters, as used in Pinyin, was not a problem. Strings of Latin characters making long meaningless words in a different language are very much harder to understand, spell, or transcribe.
A more significant problem was passwords. Given the problem with using Latin characters, a lot of Chinese passwords were short and not changed very often.
Chinese social media solution overcame the password issue by using QR codes to supply password links, with embedded long and complex passwords, to access their services. As a result, QR scans are available in the Chinese social media, and all users learn to scan QR codes to obtain social media services.
Given that Chinese social media users, which are most of the internet users in China, know how to scan QR codes, QR codes became widely used in China.
Today we see QR codes everywhere in China. They have replaced the use of domain names in marketing and sales. Businesses and people have replaced the writing of their internet links with QR code.
Today you see QR code everywhere in China;
- Internet login / passwords
- Billboard adverts
- Information displays
QR codes have also replaced the prineting of URLs, email, and social media addresses on business cards.
Here are a few examples:
A QR code can be in different colours, styles, and with or without logos embedded in the centre.
The significant advanced of QR code over a barcode is its flexible to store different types and volumes of data.
Given that the people no longer have to type the URL, you can add additional information in the URL to track the inquiry source, e.g., use different URLs on brochure, website, promotion, etc. You can follow the use of your QR codes.
At this point in China, you are seeing QR throughout China and increasing used world-wide.
Are there a few problems;
- Outside China, not everyone uses, knows, or has a QR scan on their Mobile Phone. Your URL still needs to printed on brochures, business cards, etc.
- Longer the URL, passwords, etc. the more complex the QR code. It can result in the QR code becoming too large to enable the QR code to be read successfully.
- QR code colour must contrast with the background colour. For a QR code to be successfully read, there must be a sharp contrast in colour, e.g., Access to China home page ( https://www.accesstochina.com ) image has a black QR code in the top righthand corner. Not our regular QR code, see above, the change was necessary to allow the QR code to be successful read.
- QR code needs to be tested. Many of with problems with QR codes is where the QR code has not been thoroughly tested.
Access to China QR codes recommendations
- Create QR codes and publish them on all marketing materials and business cards, etc.
- Add your QR code(s) to the home page of your company website. In China, often readers/users transfer web content from desktop to mobiles. A QR code makes this straight forward.
- Use different URL codes for tracking sources of business, e.g., Brochure, Business card, website.
- Always check and test QR codes are working both for seeing the website and tracking system
- Do not use a long URL, email address as the QR code becomes too complex and becomes harder for the QR scanners to read.
Our recommendation, use the free QR code generators to understand how they work and what design characteristics look right for your business. QR code design companies are available on the internet if you need assistance.
If looking to create a QR code, you find many free tools on the internet to generate your QR code, e.g.
When creating QR code add http;// or https:// to the front of the website name, e.g., http://www.accesstochina.com, or for email, mailto:email@example.com.
Last modified: 2 October 2019 - version 1.8b