China’s travel industry can’t get enough of QR codes

QR codes in China can be found almost everywhere, from using the subways to paying beggars. Source: Shutterstock.com

THE Shanghai metro system has announced the introduction of QR code payments across the subway network, with the new system set to be implemented by early 2018.

Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, which operates the wider Shanghai metro, will introduce the payment method at two stations on the Maglev line. Passengers will first have to download the mobile app and then pay for their tickets via Alipay or China UnionPay simply by scanning the QR code at the entrance and exit of a station.

“Unlike traditional online payment, the Shanghai metro has adopted innovative technology that can function without a wireless network. Therefore, it is not time-consuming to open the app and wait for a response,” Wang Ziqiang, an operation management executive, told China Daily.

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But China is not stopping at subway QR codes. It is developing this nifty technology and weaving it into some unsuspecting places and events, such as weddings.

The tradition of giving money at auspicious events in Chinese culture, such as weddings and births, is widely acceptable and expected – so much so you can make payments to the bride and groom via QR payment codes if you happen to forget the traditional envelope.

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Begging has also gone digital in China too. Less fortunate Chinese citizens who find themselves living on the streets have found a method to accept mobile payments via QR codes. The homeless no longer have to take the ‘no change’ excuse from hurrying passersby, as they can quickly whip out their phones and transfer some money.

QR codes are being utilized for more than just payment methods. Older members of the Chinese community can carry QR code cards, making them easily identifiable if they wander out of their home and can’t remember how to get home.

QR code is also being utilized for digitizing walking tours. Often tourists can find QR codes attached to places with significant cultural or historical meaning such as monuments, bridges, parks and walking trails.