Friday, June 02, 2017

The Rise of the QR Code in China

In China, completing purchases via mobile is quite the norm with platforms such as Alipay or WeChat Wallet. This creation of an emerging cash-free economy from the convenience of using such technology and its wide acceptance has had interesting consequences in terms of social habits.

Purchasing items can easily be done online or offline, either by scanning codes on the internet via your phone, or allowing a store cashier to scan your QR code on your phone. Mobile payments reached $5.5 trillion in 2016, which is more than half of China’s GDP in comparison to $112 billion in the US. The convenience of the QR code is expected to increase consumption, the way credit cards have had an effect in purchasing habits over using cash.

The QR code has also enabled users to tip at restaurants, by scanning the code being worn by a server, to renting a bike, or donating to the homeless. Despite the implications with cybersecurity, it is interesting to see how the QR code took off in China whereas in Europe and North America, QR code usage declined.

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