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China: Around The Nation

Chinese village builds giant QR code in field in effort to connect with visitors

Tourism campaign uses 130,000 juniper trees to create scannable pattern that can be seen from the air

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 September, 2017, 11:58am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 September, 2017, 2:54pm

A village in northern China has designed a massive field of trees in the shape of a giant QR code in an effort to boost local tourism.

Officials in Xilinshui, in the city of Baoding, Hebei province, created the scannable code, which measures 227m along each side, using about 130,000 Chinese juniper trees, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

The evergreen trees, which are native to northeast Asia, are all between 80cm and 2.5m in height.

While difficult to do, anyone who scans the greenery using a smartphone or tablet will be connected to the village’s public WeChat account for tourism, the report said.

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Xilinshui was named “the most beautiful village in Hebei” in 2015, and was granted 1.1 million yuan (US$168,000) by the provincial government to fund its development and renovation.

Its latest public relations stunt is designed to cash in on the nation’s lucrative mobile payment craze, the report said.

QR codes – machine-readable patterns of black squares on a white background – are ubiquitous in mainland China, used in settling bills at restaurants, renting out shared bicycles, and even giving money to beggars.

Governments in remote villages have even adopted the codes, putting them on people’s houses to help monitor them, the report said.

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The Xilinshui field is not the first giant-sized QR code to sprout out from the mobile payment phenomenon.

Chinese developer Vanke built a 6,400 square metre code from grass and marble in 2013. Once scanned, phones would play sights and sounds from nature in a bid to attract people to go and see its properties.