"More than 100 cities in China have adopted the QR code health rating system developed by mobile payment platform Alipay, one version of an app that is expected to be rolled out across the country next week.
Why it matters: The health code system is the quick answer the government was seeking to help contain the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, though some loopholes remain.
IMAGE: Screenshot of health codes
The system generates green, yellow, or red code based on answers to a few basic questions. Individuals with a green code are allowed to move around the city freely, yellow codes require a seven-day quarantine, and red requires a 14-day quarantine.
Yellow and red codes can be converted to green after individuals complete quarantine periods with daily check-ins on the app. WeChat owner Tencent also rolled out a similar health code system now being used in Shenzhen that will soon be adopted by more cities in southern Guangdong province.
WeChat and Alibaba are neck-in-neck in a new race, which is to help citizens manage their own health risks. While we in the West might be fearful of the "big brother" aspect of this big data tool, for the average Chinese citizen the result is empowerment, and the ability to self-manage. This solution was ready so quickly because the underlying technology is there, and so is widespread adoption of technology in the WeChat and Alibaba ecosystems.
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