In today’s WeChat Essential tip we are going to cover a variety of things about QR codes or as they are known in China 二维码 (er wei ma). While perceived as a bit of an oddity or even out of date in many Western countries, QR codes are everywhere in China with WeChat driving the trend most. We’ve all scanned a WeChat QR code when adding someone to our contacts no doubt but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s possible.
QR codes are basically a way to link the offline and online worlds. This means they have an absolute myriad of potential applications once people become used to using them. The Chinese public are now very comfortable and familiar with this technology. In this article we will cover WeChat QR related information from the most simple up to advanced:
- Your Personal WeChat QR Codes / Change Your QR Code Design
- QR Codes for WeChat Groups
- WeChat Payments via QR codes
- QR codes for Official Acccounts
- The Future of QR Codes
Not the future of QR Codes
Your Personal WeChat QR Code / Change Your QR Code Design
You have a personal QR code for your account on WeChat. To find it go to Me and then tap the little QR code icon in the top left.
You use this of course to share your WeChat contact info with others.
Tapping on your profile picture will take you to your profile page. Here you will find an option for ‘My QR Code’
From here you can change the design of the QR Code by tapping on the options button at the top and selecting ‘Change Style’
There are a variety of different themed styles to rotate through from the classic to ice cream and bread themed which help add some degree of personalization to your QR Code
QR Codes for WeChat Groups
Making a group QR code and posting it on other groups with a short synopsis of the group’s purpose is a great way to spread the word and gain followers to your group. You don’t need to be the owner of the group to do this either. Go into your group chat thread and tap the little head and shoulder’s icon at the top right corner. Now from the group options select ‘Group QR Code’
You can now see your group’s unique QR code
Now by tapping the top right corner you select ‘Save to Phone’. (BTW: The option to ‘Share via Email’ seems a little odd)
To scan a QR code in-bedded in a picture that’s been sent you to in WeChat all you need do is hold down on the picture and wait for the options to pop up.
Now you are ready to start promoting your new group with your QR code
Payments via WeChat QR codes
Now that everyone in China is linking their bank cards up to WeChat then payments through WeChat QR codes become possible. In fact WeChat wants to encourage this so much that they made it very easy to access from the timeline home screen. Simply tap the + button in the top right corner to reveal ‘Receive Money’
I think we’d all like to receive some money now and then so let’s tap on that
There is an option to set a note
Unfortunately this is the highest amount that can be set currently
Now go ahead and send it to your friends or post in a group
This method is actually a great way for small businesses to take cashless payments in China. As you can see from the photo below, this method is perfect for a small street vendor selling products at set prices.
WeChat QR Codes for Official Accounts
Using QR codes to promote business is very important in China now. The picture below shows a typical way that they are being used. Baleno is a nationwide clothing retail chain. This banner is encouraging people to scan the QR code and follow their official account on WeChat. Scan the code to receive a free drink, not bad eh?
Across advertisements in China now it’s not uncommon to see QR codes take center stage in billboards or bus stops.
It’s no coincidence that when you register a WeChat official account. The first place you will likely need to go in the WeChat management system is to account settings where your account’s QR takes prominent place and is available to download in several sizes.
If you want to create your own QR code for your website or social media we recommend this site as one of the better QR Code Generators: http://scanova.io/design-qr-code-generator.html?utm_source=hellobar&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=scanova#/chooseqr
The Future of QR Codes
To get some idea of the future for QR codes in connecting the online and offline worlds, take a look at this short video from an Israeli startup Visualead based in Shanghai.
Tencent Video Version (faster in China)
YouTube Version (faster outside China)
Join us tomorrow for our next article in the WeChat Essential Tips series where we will be giving away more free info on WeChat. You will be able to show off to your Chinese colleagues and friends using your new expert knowledge of how to use the number 1 app in China. Follow us on WeChat by scanning the QR code to follow our official account.
This article is based mostly on WeChat Android Version 6.2.4
China Channel has no association with Visualead, we just think their products are cool.