Here are the answers to the FAQs intended to clear up common misconceptions.


Yes. The GS1 System was designed based on the UPC system, so the UPC-A & UPC-E symbols are 100 percent compatible with all GS1 Systems. Companies using UPC-A & UPC-E bar codes can have their products identified across the globe without any difficulty.

A sunrise date on January 1, 2005 has been set for the global acceptance of GTIN-13. However, a few retailers in the US and Canada may experience a problem in that their systems not able to accommodate GTIN-13. In such case, the GTIN-12 represented in a UPC-A or UPC-E Symbol is required.

No. The first three digits refer to the country of membership of the company assigning the number. The products themselves may be produced anywhere in the world. For example, numbers beginning with 489 have been allocated by GS1 Hong Kong, but the products may not be manufactured in Hong Kong. The same applies for all other GS1 Member Organizations.

No. A company who owns the brand name of the product, regardless of where and by whom it is manufactured or sold, is responsible for the allocation of Global Trade Item Number. Therefore, it can be a manufacturer, supplier, and retailer who owns the brand name or importer and wholesaler who transforms the product, i.e. change the package.

In general, it is not the case. The barcode represents the number on the label, it allows the unique number to be scanned. All information about a product is stored in a computer database. The only exceptions are the GTIN-13 and GTIN-12 for retail Variable Measure Trade Items and Coupon, which include the price or the measurement of the item or the value.

No. GS1 Member Organizations allocate GS1 Company Prefixes that may vary between six and eleven digits, depending on the company’s needs. The first two or three digits indicate the GS1 Member Organization allocating the company number that follows.

No. The printing process and the materials used will determine the size of a barcode. The bars and spaces must be clearly recognized by the scanner as part of an accurate symbol. Members are advised to submit the finished barcode image to GS1 Hong Kong for quality testing.

No. The GS1 System allows for three different barcode symbologies - EAN/UPC, ITF-14 and GS1-12 8 to be used on outer cases, which do not cross a retail point-of-sale. The numbering system is designed to be used for all packaging configurations, and the different symbols are used according to information requirements, scanning environment and the printing materials being used.

No, it will not. The GS1 System is especially designed for open trade and will often be used alongside an internal system. Some companies will replace their internal system, but using the GS1 System (which is designed for different computers to use easily) does not mean necessarily abandoning an internal system that is purely for internal use.

No. It is important that the bars appear dark against a light background that will reflect the infrared light when scanning. As for cold colors such as blue, green or black can be used against backgrounds in warm colors like red, orange and yellow, as well as white. It is important to have sufficient contrast between the bars and spaces, so it is vital to check color combinations with your printer.

No. The GS1 System is a totally neutral system that can be used to identify anything that is traded among companies, as well as individual retail items at the point-of-sale. Goods are scanned as they leave manufacturers, as they are handled by distributors, scanned again at goods inwards at warehouses and depots, again for stock counts, as orders are picked and so on. The system is used by companies operating in all trade and industry sectors.

No. EAN/UPC, ITF-14 and GS1-12 8 Bar Codes have a standardized data content, which means they can be used by any company with GS1 System, and not be confused with any other symbology. Other bar codes, for example code 39 do not have a multi-industry standardized approach to the data they contain, and so are only really usable in controlled systems where they will not be confusing to interpret.

BarcodePlus is a one-stop and reliable product information portal, which uses the most widely recognized global standards – barcode and RFID technologies in providing business and customers access to critical product quality and safety information instantly, either via web portal, mobile SMS or intelligent smart kiosk displays at retail shops. 
Designated for a distinct group of supply chain stakeholders, BarcodePlus is a business solution composes of different application modules including Product Data Management, Product Quality Certification Management and Consumer Loyalty Program Management. 

BarcodePlus brings ample benefits to businesses and consumers through a shared product-quality information database which is comprehensive and well-organized.  Acting as "a window to product quality and safety", the portal:  

  • provides companies (especially brand owners) a B2B information exchange tool to keep their retail business partners updated with new product information.
  • offers businesses a practical and reliable platform to show their product-testing certificates to the public which can help enhance brand integrity and increase customer confidence in product safety.
  • allows consumers to access to critical product quality-related information and trace the quality of a product.

Businesses:  BarcodePlus is a  web-enabled business solution designed for any company that operates within the supply chain, including brand owners, manufacturers, distributors or retailers who would like to disseminate trusted product information directly to the consumers. BarcodePlus supports support various business needs such as product data management, testing certification management and consumer loyalty program management. 

Consumers: BarcodePlus provides consumers with a reliable source of information. With multiple information channels, including a dedicated web portal, mobile SMS and smart kiosks, the portal allows end users to access essential product information and product testing reports, as well as perform product authentication checking at home or on the road.

  • Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) unique product identification for any trade item in the supply chain. It can be used throughout the supply chain to keep track of inventory and trigger re-ordering.
  • Global Location Number (GLN) unique identification for any legal, functional or physical location within an organization. It can be used throughout the supply chain to track and trace the location of goods.
  • Product description such as brand name, long and short product description for different application use, color, size and images, etc
  • Logistics information such as weight, dimensions of the shipment/carton, packaging type, packing format, handling instruction, etc
  • Pricing such as list price and recommended sale price

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