QR Code: growing innovation in the U.S., established lifestyle in China.

Caixin Global

CNBC recently reported on the widespread use of QR Codes in restaurants during the pandemic. In a time when every physical object is a potential virus carrier, QR Codes allow touch-free service by replacing paper menus with a code printed on the table itself. Once scanned, guests can access the menu, customize their order, and pay in one seamless transaction. The technology doesn’t just benefit customers, however, as it also benefits the restaurants by allowing a much more efficient operation with less staff.

According to link management service Bitly, QR code downloads have increased 750% over the last 18 months. As Americans have only begun to pick up the value of QR Codes, here in China these black-and-white pixel squares have been around for nearly ten years…

As one of the most used apps in the world, WeChat boasted 1.25 billion monthly active users as of June 2021. This massive user base and the continuous development of new features have enabled WeChat to grow into a “super app” with strong infrastructure-building capabilities.

Built into WeChat, QR Codes took this advantage and soon became one of the most commonly used tools in the everyday life of contemporary China. It is used in numerous scenarios by individuals from tech-savvy youths to elderly street vendors, small businesses, big businesses, public institutions…You name it.

And so it grows. Have to admit, I find QR so much more useful than predecessors…and growing in frequency in my life since everything I need is built into my iPhone.