A mini program found in the Alipay app, the lead payments app run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, has attracted 40,000 car owners in its first 10 days. It tackles the now typically Chinese problem of parking chaos with the typically modern Chinese QR code.

The applet called MoveCar (or 码上挪车 Ma Shang Nuo Che which translates roughly as “shift a car with a code” but including a pun on “mashang” meaning “immediately”) lets users create a pass with a QR code printed on it. The driver can then display the card somewhere inside the vehicle so that should someone want to contact the owner–for example if the car is blocking them in or is parked across their front door or side street–they simply scan the QR code. This allows the owner to anonymize his or her contact details and provides a way for others to anonymously send an SMS or call the owner to negotiate.

MoveCar

The MoveCar mini program within Alipay (Image credit: Alipay screen grab)

Currently the usual way is for car owners to write their mobile number on a form typically provided for free as a promotional item. However this presents the problem of giving away private information: the owner’s number plate as well as car license number.

MoveCar 码上挪车

Where to generate your anonymous code for MoveCar. (Image credit: Alipay screen grab)

Developed by Hangzhou Chasing Technology which operates the Qi Che Da Sheng app (齐车大圣, betraying the company’s fondness for puns) that helps car owners manage and fix their cars, the mini program has already acquired 40,000 users according to reports in local media (in Chinese). 10,000 have opted to have cards printed and mailed to them and the other 30,000 have chosen the option for printing the signs themselves.

It is too soon to say whether what effect it might have on parking etiquette.