If you still have any doubts that mobile devices have taken over our lives, this should make you a firm believer: smartphones and QR codes have become tools of the trade for Chinese beggars. If you’re feeling generous, you can simply whip out your phone, scan a a printed QR code and transfer some money to the beggar’s account.
Local media have spread news of mobile-savvy beggars in the city of Jinan, in China’s Shandong province. They gather in areas popular with tourists, holding begging bowls that contain a QR code printout. Anyone with Alipay, WeChat Wallet, or some other mobile payment app can scan the code and make a donation. Wait, beggars in China have mobile phones? Well, according to state media outlets, that’s not actually a rare thing.