- Language Tips
When Huo Chunhua from Suzhou, Jiangsu province, hands out his new business cards, people are surprised to see a small black-and-white square on the card, with his micro-blog avatar within it.
They follow his request to use a smartphone's camera to scan the square grid, and his basic information such as mobile number, e-mail, and company name soon pops up in the phone.
Such magical Quick Response-coded name cards are becoming more popular recently, both for their convenience and fresh design.
"Compared with traditional cards, they contain more information and they are both simple and pretty. The stylish card just reflects what the youth seek - the advanced technology," says Huo, who works in a bank and started to use the new name cards in January.
"My friends are very interested in my cards. I often communicate with my clients by micro blog, so I hope we can make friends with each other when the code directs them to my micro-blog address," he says.
In 1994, Japan's Denso Wave Incorporated invented the QR code to track vehicle parts during the manufacturing process. It's a kind of two-dimensional bar code, which contains information vertically and horizontally. A traditional bar code contains data in only one direction.
"I don't have to bother to enter others' information manually into my phone. It's suitable for the modern people's pace of life," says Chen Gao, 31, a designer from an advertisement company in Chengdu, Sichuan province. He started to use the cards in December 2011, following the example of foreign companies.
Many free websites can encode one's name card information into a QR code, so that one can design the card and print it. Chen also designs QR-coded business cards for dozens of his colleagues and friends for free, many of whom are from advertising, marketing and architecture companies.
"Advertising companies are trend followers. I focus on the artistic values in designing the card, which also demonstrates our company's professionalism," he says.
"It's just an extra way to present oneself. I started to use it because many colleagues are using it," says Guan Jian, director of business development and marketing for a US technology company in Beijing.
He says the cards are very popular among colleagues from Taiwan and foreign staff. Some also attach the code as part of their signature at the end of their e-mail, together with their personal information.
"Most corporations have a standard for their name cards. We may also need one for QR code cards, such as the size of the code and where to put it, so that it's easy to print them in all the subsidiaries," he says.
"Compared with normal bar codes, QR code can be read even with slight abrasions on its surface and saves much more space for storing the same amount of information. Thanks to the popularity of smartphones, QR code is widely used," says He Zhengchao, legal representative of Zhuhai Xialang Information Technology Corporation. The company's code design work includes connecting new media and print media via the code.
The code now is often used to promote accounts for Wechat (a popular mobile chatting app), app downloads, newspapers and magazines, e-commerce such as QR-code coupons and QR-code shopping, and logistics tracking.
"I think the best application is creating e-tickets instead of paper tickets. Now, one has to spend both time and a transportation fee to get a ticket in another district of a city. Besides, the design and printing also cost money, let alone the labor cost to line up for the ticket and have it checked," he says.
"Someday the QR code may replace our paper name cards and tickets. It will be very environmental-friendly."
(China Daily 03/13/2013 page20)