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QR code made from trees allows passengers to scan it from the sky

03, October, 2017

Bureau, New Delhi

In the unlikely event that you find yourself flying over Xilinshui anytime soon, have your smartphone at the ready to test out this unusual QR code.

Only a few years ago this OOH display would've been mistaken for one of those Alien UFO manicured crop formations upon whose mystery and peculiarity news dailies would thrive.

Promoting your local area to attract tourists from across the country is clearly a tricky proposition for some Chinese cities, with one turning to the humble QR code in a bid to boost its profile.

No, it hasn't placed thousands of the codes in national newspapers and magazines that link to a website showing off what it has to offer, nor has it stuck them on billboards in the hope that a passing person will scan it with their smartphone.

Instead, officials in Xilinshui village in the city of Baoding, about 60 miles southwest of Beijing, have created a living, growing QR code consisting of around 130,000 juniper trees.

According to South China Morning Post, Xilinshui was named 'the most beautiful village in Hebei' back in 2015. The village was granted 1.1 million yuan ($168,000) by the government for development and renovation purposes. 

Running nearly 230 meters along each side, the QR code's designers hope that folks flying overhead on their way to and from the capital will spot the giant QR code, whip out their smartphone, and scan it to find out what on earth it's all about. And then, perhaps, pay the place a visit.

QR codes are used a lot in China, so Xilinshui officials hope that when people see its effort from up high, their automatic reaction will be to grab their phone to quickly scan it ... though it does, of course, need a cloudless sky for the code to get proper exposure.

While some commentators have noted that a regular photograph of the code is hard to scan, others found that a brightened image does the trick, taking you straight to Xilinshui's official Chinese-language tourism page on WeChat, the country's hugely popular messaging app.

It's not clear how many window-seat airline passengers have been scanning the code, but the global publicity generated from the mere existence of the unusual code will no doubt have put a smile of satisfaction on the faces of the local officials who dreamed up the initiative.

But will this promotional tactic help bring in more tourists, only time will tell.

Tags :  innovation QR Code WeChat OOH Tourism Campaign China

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