Chinese village creates QR code maze that’s scannable from planes overhead

Xilinshui, a village in China's northern Hebei province, has created a giant QR code from 130,000 Chinese juniper trees in a bid to attract visitors.

by | Published on 9th Aug 2023

You could be mistaken for thinking this looks like the courtly maze of an English country manor.

But, for those of you with a tech-savvy eye, you’ve probably spotted it’s a massive QR code.

QR codes have made somewhat of a comeback in recent years.

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They’re especially popular in China, where they’re frequently used to make cashless payments on smartphones.

In a bid to raise its profile, Xilinshui village – in the country’s northern Hebei province – has created one from trees.

Apparently, the design was made from 130,000 Chinese junipers.

The vast design measures 227m (744ft) along each side, with the trees between 80cm and 2.5m in height.

But how on Earth do you scan a QR code that big?

It’s not entirely clear how high above the trees you would have to be to scan it.

We’d imagine you’d have to be in a plane overhead to scan it using a phone or tablet.

If you can capture it, though, you will be connected to the village’s tourism account on WeChat, a Chinese social media platform.

Back in 2015, Xilinshui was named “the most beautiful village in Hebei”.

After winning the accolade, the village received a 1.1 million yuan ($168,000) development grant from the province.

Obviously, the money’s been put to good use, creating a QR code to publize the village.

This isn’t just a gimmick, though; Chinese people are increasingly using QR codes in their everyday lives.

For example, they’re used to make quick payments, and even waiters can sometimes be seen with QR badges pinned to their shirts so happy customers can scan them to leave a tip.

Even beggars have been pictured displaying the codes to encourage donations. 

This isn’t the first time a mammoth QR code has been used to drum up business.

Back in 2013, Chinese developer Vanke built a 6,400 sq meter (20,00 sq ft) code near a housing construction site in Hefei, Anhui province.

When the QR code was scanned, it played sights and sounds designers to entice would-be homeowners.



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Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with motor manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.

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