A barcode beginning with the “489” prefix indicates the number was issued by the Hong Kong branch of the Global Standards Body (GS1). A “489” prefix however does not indicate the product as being of Hong Kong origin or “Made in Hong Kong”. This is confirmed by GS1’s own documentation, see GS1 Australia’s Media Release or GS1 UK to learn more.
To obtain barcodes that begin with 489 you must license them directly from the Hong Kong branch of GS1. However, licensing barcodes from GS1 is prohibitively expensive for most small businesses and start-ups requiring on-going yearly membership charges. GS1 membership is a complicated process and using GS1 approved Alliance Partners for generating your barcode images is unnecessarily expensive.
There are no mandatory requirements to have a “489” prefix on a product made in Hong Kong. Barcodes are a global standard and are not restricted by any region or country. If you have a valid barcode number, it can be used in any county in the world.
To demonstrate that your product is made in Hong Kong you can include “Made in Hong Kong” on your product packaging. Your company must be able to prove this claim if challenged.
(!) Warning – Any barcode seller who claims to supply barcodes starting with a “489” prefix are misleading you. These fly by night sellers effectively “make up” 489 numbers with a high risk of duplication against GS1 Hong Kong’s authentic numbers causing disruption in the supply chain. There is no relationship between these sellers and GS1 and they’re not authorized to sell the 489 prefix. If you purchase a 489 barcode from someone other than GS1 duplication is very likely. When a duplication occurs you will be liable. Retailers and distributors will generally side with an official GS1 license holder over a vendor using illegitimate numbers.
If a seller claims to have “signed up to GS1 so you don’t have to” they’re either in breach of GS1’s licensing agreement (meaning you are not licensed to use the code) or making a false claim.
Barcode sites that risk duplication with GS1 Hong Kong
1. www.hong-kong-barcodes.com (Global Barcodes who are based in Spain) – (see ruling of misleading advertising on the EASA (The European Advertising Standards Authority) website.
Get your barcode numbers from GS1 directly or through a reputable reseller
To ensure your barcode is globally unique ensure your numbers come from the GS1/UCC system. The barcodes sold by us were originally issued in bulk by the Uniform Code Council, now known as GS1. These codes we supply were issued prior to GS1’s subscription model and thus do not incur annual GS1 fees. Currently, all of our stock has originated from the UCC, are globally unique, prefixed 07 or 06 and have never been assigned to any products. Fundamentally our numbers work like any other barcode supplied by GS1 and are suitable for use in Hong Kong and globally.
The purchase authentic, valid and globally unique barcode numbers while avoiding GS1 Hong Kong fees visit our buy barcodes page.