Although they are somewhat known in Western societies, they are far from popular: QR codes. This is different in China. The popular WeChat app uses QR codes for various functions, making them indispensable for companies active in the Middle Kingdom.
Businesses that do not use WeChat are practically invisible in China. More than 900 million monthly active users interact with each other and with around 10 million registered companies. Thanks to many small microprograms that run in the app, users also handle banking transactions or use the app as a cashless payment method.
Many of the essential WeChat features require QR Codes:
- Discover / share groups
- Cashless payment
Each profile has its own QR code. This QR code can be saved and sent or scanned directly from the display of the smartphone. So if you want to add a new contact to WeChat, just scan their QR code (or send it to them via mail). The WeChat QR code has become some sort of digital business card and, as such, enjoys great acceptance (WeChat is used for both private and professional networking). The QR code can not only be read via a smartphone camera: it can be distributed like an image file and read out by the app. Incidentally, the WeChat QR codes can be personalized. If users do not like the classic look, they can adapt the design style.
Discover / share groups
Groups also have their own QR code. The code can be saved and distributed much like an image file. So if you want to increase awareness for your WeChat group, the easiest way to do that is to share the QR code.
Companies also use QR codes. In the official company profiles, the QR code is available for download in various resolutions so that it can be used for advertising purposes. This is pretty handy since QR codes are actually used for the purpose for which they were originally intended: connecting the real with the digital world. Thus, there are hardly any products left without QR codes printed on them in the Middle Kingdom. You can see them on posters, buses and print products – virtually everywhere.
The QR codes are usually used to forward users to the official WeChat H5 page of the respective company. But QR codes are used for various ends: as part of promotions or to give access to exclusive content. In user guides, they lead to video instructions and provide better service to customers. Products can even be ordered directly via QR codes from a billboard, which already leads us to the next function for which they are used in China today.
QR codes are used via WeChat Pay to handle financial transactions. Providers simply create a QR code that is scanned by the customer to pay for the the product thy want to buy. The feature also enjoys great popularity among friends and family members to make cash gifts or pay debts. For this, only a QR code is created and delivered to the recipient via the message function. WeChat Pay is so popular that more transactions are registered in a matter of days than with PayPal throughout a whole year.
Read more about Digital Marketing in China.