Mobile Barcodes and Marketing in China

China Economic Review has a story about how mobile barcodes and related technology are being used for mobile marketing in China. sigh... I really need to start talking about something besides dot-boxes...... Anyway, the article mentions three companies in China that are pushing their own 2D-code technology.

  • Gmedia: Datamatrix-looking code
  • MyClick: image recognition, or at least image frame recognition
  • Inspiry: appear to be selling encoders/decoders for various barcode formats
Once again there is a little hype here.
SMS advertising is a 'push' technology, leaving consumers at the mercy of advertisers. But with barcodes, the consumer chooses whether or not to click.
Now why is SMS advertising only a push technology? There are plenty of SMS-pull advertisements in print, radio, television and online. You know, "Text 'BUSH' to 4231 for your free 'Dubya' ringback tone!". You decide whether or not to text. I think most people can send an SMS faster than they can find and open their code reader and snap a good shot of a QR-code. At least the code-scanner does not have to wait for an SMS response (though some barcode formats require an active internet connection to work).

I am really interested in seeing how fast and reliably arbitrary image recognition solutions like Mobot and MyClick develop this year. They would certainly be "QR-Code Killers" in the mobile marketing world.

Mobile bar-codes are great marketing tools, but I think it will take some work to wean people in the GSM/GPRS world off SMS texting. The referenced article also mentions that poor connection speed will slow the adoption of QR codes. Perhaps, but they can still be used to deliver virtually anything an SMS can (actually, most 2D barcode formats can store much more than 160 characters). I suppose outside of Japan and Korea 2D barcodes are considered new technology, and will be used to promote more advanced campaigns rather than as a new approach to the same old.


SNS in Japan

Wireless Watch Japan has a story on Disney's Wonder Days, the latest SNS on the Japanese mobile scene. There is a nice video clip showing the user experience and features available on Wonder Days and Mobage-Town. Worth a look if you are interested in seeing whats brewing in the social networking pot over here.

KDDI Mobile - A Japanese MVNO in the US

This seems to have surprised a lot of people based on the ML chatter and blog static around right now. KDDI, Japan's #2 carrier behind DoCoMo, will launch an MVNO on Sprint's network in the US branded as KDDI Mobile. Now maybe they will start providing more global handsets in Japan besides the low-end Sanyo A5514SA. I think this shows that the MVNO movement has gotten serious and the US mobile market still holds opportunities.