What is a QR Code?

Between online companies and us, too many steps to be taken: opening the website, downloading an app, registering, insert your card's details and so forth. The solution is much more easier and far more and intuitive: it is enough to use a QR code. In Asia, the QR code is a revolution who is changing users’ everyday life, an expanding tool slowly becoming a commonplace in the West.

Life-size QR code mascots in a Singapore shopping mall for its summer sales campaign. Credits: Tech in Asia.
Life-size QR code mascots in a Singapore shopping mall for its summer sales campaign. Credits: Tech in Asia.


A QR Code (quick response code) is a type of 2D bar code designed to be read quickly by smartphones or QR reading devices. It comes in the shape of a square frame, with other black and white mini squares or rectangles on the inside, and it contains far more information than a simple numeric bar code. The range of applications for QR codes is huge, particularly for marketing, online communication and cutting-edge brand advertising.

How to use this code?

To read the QR code you will need the scanner app on your phone. Alternatively, you have to search and download a “QR code reader” in app store. The, you have to focus your phone's camera on the code and scan it. This will shortly redirect to a web page. Through QR codes you might be able to access corporate websites, new product-dedicated pages, a sales flyer or even a personal website. Indeed, many professionals put a QR code on the back of their business cards, to add more information in addition to their name, title and phone number.

The QR Code in Asia

Where did you see a QR code for the first time? If you ask a Chinese, almost everyone would answer WeChat. This messaging app, with more than 856 million of monthly users, was of great importance for the large-scale spreading of the QR code. Wechat offers a personal QR code to share your contact, thus solving a major linguistic problem: for Asians, scanning code is much easier than it is to type in English letters. Today, in Asian "smart cities", the code is applied everywhere: to unlock the shared bikes, to pay bus or metro fares, or within the New Silk Road initiative. In this case, many QR code will appear on the street interested by OBOR, to access touristic or business-related information.

Who use the QR Code in Italy?

According to the latest research, the QR code in Italy is especially used by a male audience from 22 to 55 years old. Lombardy's residents are the most active users, with at least three scans per month, particularly when they are at home or during the weekend, as in such a setting they are more likely to do online shopping or book a trip, maybe taking advantage of a discount accessible only from a QR code printed on a flyer or on a billboard.

Future goals

The printed QR Code is coming out the online network, as it can now be found on food, general items, flyers and stickers. This code enable the merchants to promote their work in the offline world, creating a direct link between them and their customers. For the immediate future, a new generation of dynamic QR code is developing. This new type of codes can change in real time, through an online control panel, to analyze sales data and plan email-marketing campaigns more accurately.


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