SINGAPORE - When full-time blogger Grace Tan, 27, is left with just one business card at networking events, she lets people scan a QR code instead.
They scan the code printed on her namecard with a mobile phone application. In doing so, they can get her contact number, e-mail address and a link to her website.
She says: "It is useful for bloggers like me because it shows that I am tech-savvy. It helps save the environment too."
A QR code or Quick Response Code is a type of 2-D code made up of black blocks arranged into a square-shaped pattern. It works like a barcode but is able to store more information.
They are commonly used in print advertisements, flyers and brochures. Free smartphone applications such as Quick Scan for iPhones and QR Code Reader for Android can be used to read them.
QR codes can be created easily through free websites and do not need special printing methods to be put on name cards.
QR codes started to appear on business cards in the United States in 2011, but the fad has since lost steam.
A check with six printing companies in Singapore, including Leung Ping Graphic & Printing and Deprint Solutions, shows the trend has not taken off here.
Only two out of every 10 clients print such business cards, says Mr Donovan Lim, 30, an account executive at the 35-year-old commercial printing company Drummond Printing, which does not charge extra to print the codes.
Wedding videographer Soo Zhi Wei, 28, who runs Red Pigeon Studio, decided to print a QR code on his business card in February last year because he thought it would be convenient for his clients.
But some clients are puzzled by the black-and-white matrix square on his card.
Mr Soo says: "Most of my clients do not know what the QR code is for. I had to explain to them that it would direct them to my company's Facebook page. They also did not have a scanner for the QR code on their smartphones.
"I see QR codes everywhere on advertisements now. I think over time, more and more people will find it useful."
Mr Ong Zhi Wei, 29, who runs the design company Lemon Graphic, says more clients are interested in QR code business cards. About two out of every 10 customers in the past year now ask for them, compared to just one customer every few months last year.
They range from those in their 20s to those in their 50s.
Mr Ong says: "They are from all sorts of companies, including consulting firms and recruitment agencies. They want it because it gives them an up-to-date vibe."
Some people, such as personal trainer Raphael Lim, 34, are all for the convenience of such namecards. He received one from a client about a month ago.
He says: "It saves time because I do not have to manually key everything into my smartphone. Business cards are disposable these days since people store contact details in their phones anyway."
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