Shanghai’s mass-transit system this week will begin accepting QR code payments through an app connected to a digital wallet, following a successful pilot.

Shanghai Shenton Metro Group, which operates the world’s largest subway system, developed a mobile app leveraging QR codes that users may download and link to either Alipay or China UnionPay accounts for funds, according to a press release.

The transit agency is in the process of installing QR code readers at hundreds of access points across the region for subways, buses, ferries and parking lots, and while it continues to accept cash and credit cards for fares, the agency is offering introductory discounts for users who pay with QR codes between Jan. 20 and Feb. 28.

Eventually Shanghai Metro will add other funding mechanisms for the app, according to the release.

Alipay rival WeChat Pay, owned by Tencent, is the funding mechanism for similar QR code-based mass-transit mobile payment options in other Chinese cities including Guangzhou, Qungdao and Hefei, underscoring China’s growing affinity for low-balance cashless transactions.

China’s government continues to restrict QR codes for certain other types of transactions.

Shanghai Hangzhou train station
Bloomberg News

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