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Chinese RFID Adoption Takes Many Forms

The Shanghai branch of U.S. RFID technology provider Impinj is seeing strong demand for passive UHF tags and readers from the nation's banking, transportation and retail sectors, with the greatest growth coming from consumer goods manufacturers.
By Claire Swedberg

A number of Chinese banks, all under the umbrella of the nation's government, are also deploying RFID technology, with EPC Gen 2 UHF passive tags applied to bags in which cash bundles are stored, as well as readers used at the banks to track how much money is onsite at any specific location, thereby enabling better cash management. This makes the management of money more efficient and more secure, Savage explains, since banks know exactly how many bags they have in each bank or branch.

In the transportation sector, RFID tags are being employed to identify private motor vehicles in some sections of China. "The tagging of cars is a huge issue," Savage states, since vehicles typically require one sticker for registration, another for emission controls, another for a parking permit, and others for additional specific agencies or companies, leading to the presence of typically five or more stickers on the windshield of each Chinese car. With the use of RFID technology, the Chinese government and its agencies can eliminate the need for all of these stickers, by linking all sticker-related data to the unique ID number of a single EPC Gen 2 UHF passive tag. This enables everyone, from police officers to parking attendants, to use a handheld reader to identify a vehicle and confirm compliance with all vehicular regulations.

Passive UHF EPC Gen 2 RFID tags also are being applied to high-speed rail cars, to be interrogated by fixed readers installed in railroad tracks. Data about the cars' locations can then be collected on a server to help railroad managers identify where their assets are located. In the future, RFID-derived location data may also be used to manage track usage.

The continued improvement of EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID hardware itself has driven growth in the Chinese RFID market as well, Savage reports. Companies that use Impinj chips to make readers, for instance, have matured, resulting in less expensive, more effective readers for Asian customers.

Savage expects to see future growth in RFID adoption in China. This, she says, will be driven by that nation's manufacturing industry, as consumers in Europe and North America increasingly demand greater visibility into where their products were made, as well as when and under what conditions.

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