Barcodes Asia

What type of barcodes are best for retail products in Asia?

EAN-13 barcodes are the most common type of barcode used on retail products in Asia. EAN-13 barcodes are globally unique 13 digit barcode numbers, and a different barcode number is needed for each different product and product variation (different sizes and colours). EAN-13 barcodes can be used on retail products throughout Asia as well as worldwide.

EAN stands for ‘European Article Number’. EAN-13’s are based on the 12 digit UPC (‘Universal Product Code’) retail barcodes. UPC barcodes are commonly used in North America, and EAN-13 barcodes are commonly used everywhere else worldwide including Asia – however both EAN-13 and UPC barcodes can be used worldwide.

What other types of barcodes are commonly used in Asia?

Books use ISBN Barcodes. Books are assigned globally unique 13 digit numbers (these numbers are assigned by a local ISBN Agency – there is an ISBN Agency in most countries in Asia).  ISBN numbers are turned into barcode images using EAN-13 symbology.

Magazines and serials use ISSN Barcodes. ISSN Numbers are 8 digit long numbers assigned to magazines, journals and serials by a local ISSN Agency (there is an ISSN Agency in most countries). These numbers are then turned into 13 digit long EAN-13 barcodes. The issue number can be indicated by an extra 2 digit supplement barcode at the end (e.g. “01” for January”).

QR Codes are square shaped barcodes that usually encode a URL. QR code  are scanned using a QR code scanner app on a smartphone. When a QR code is scanned, the URL code it contains opens in a browser. QR codes are usually ‘static’ (ie. they encode the specific URL they want to link people to, and that never changes). ‘Dynamic’ QR codes are more versatile – they encode a URL that redirects people to the target URL. The encoded URL can be redirected to a different target URL in the future if needed. Most QR codes encode a URL, however some encode other information such as contact details (for a business card) or event information (location, time etc).

ITF-14 Carton Codes are used for delivery cartons that ship retail products to warehouses. They are 14 digit barcodes that are based on the retail product’s EAN-13 barcode number. ITF-14 carton codes indicate what retail product the box contains & how many units of the retail product are inside the box. These barcodes are scanned when delivery cartons enter a warehouse or shop, and the information provided (product name & number of units) is then recorded in the inventory system.

Asset Barcodes (Code-128 and Code-39) are used for library books, membership cards, ID cards, and loyalty cards. They can be either numbers only (numeric), or contain letters too (alpha-numeric). These numbers don’t need to be globally unique – they just need to be unique within whichever system they are being used in (e..g in the internal membership database of a company).

Where can I get barcodes for use in Asia?   

The International Barcodes Network is a global group of barcode suppliers that have extensive barcode knowledge and experience. They  provide instant delivery of certified & unique EAN-13 barcodes.  Below is a list of International Barcodes Network members in Asia.

The International Barcodes Network in Asia

Bangladesh Barcodes –

China Barcodes –

Hong Kong Barcodes –

India Barcodes –

Indonesia Barcodes –

Malaysia Barcodes –

Nepal Barcodes –

Pakistan Barcodes –

Philippines Barcodes –

Singapore Barcodes –

Thailand Barcodes – and

Vietnam Barcodes –