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Fact Check: Barcode Country Code Prefix

Typically, UPC barcodes encode an ID that is assigned to the company that sells or manufactures a product. Along with it is the code the company assigns to a certain product. In some isolated cases, you can read a barcode with the information found with the 12 digits. Do you want to know about the barcode country code prefix? Read further. 

How to Read Barcode Numbers

The first fact you need to know is that barcode numbers begin with the assigned country codes. This is the barcode number assigned by the GS1 (Global Standards One) assigned in a specific country or issuance of the official standards agency of that country. 

There are countries where GS1 exists. What is the legal way to getting started with assigned country codes? That is by joining the GS1, completing memberships, and pay for licenses. Furthermore, this also means paying annual memberships, which are very expensive. However, the license is only exclusive to you. Also, if you plan to manufacture or sell a product, especially on Amazon, you will need to undergo this process. Or you can buy from third-party sellers of barcodes. 

What is the country code prefix? 

In a standard 13 digit barcode, the first digits are the country code prefix. Depending on the country, it can vary from one digit to three digits. Here are the GS1 country codes assigned; these are just a few examples. For the complete list, click here

  • 0 USA / Canada
  • 1 USA
  • 754–755 Canada
  • 40–44 Germany
  • 489 Hong Kong
  • 45-49 Japan
  • 50 United Kingdom
  • 539 Ireland
  • 628 Saudi-Arabia
  • 629 United Arab Emirates
  • 69 China
  • 70 Norway
  • 800–839 Italy
  • 840–849 Spain
  • 80 South Korea
  • 885 Thailand
  • 888 Singapore
  • 93 Australia
  • 94 New Zealand
  • 96 GS1 Global Office: GTIN-8 allocations
  • 977 Serial Publications (ISSN)
  • 978–979 Bookland (ISBN)
  • 980 Return Coupons (refund receipts)
  • 981–983 Common Currency Coupons
  • 990–999 Coupon Codes
For example:
Product: Chocodrago
Barcode: 8010121041532 (EAN / EAN-13)
GS1 Assigned Country Code: 8
Made in Italy

Myth vs. Fact

Myth: The barcode’s first few digits are the country of origin where the product was made.

Fact: The first new numbers of the barcode shows the country where the barcode was applied.

That is why it is often confusing. Of course, if you’re from Italy, you produced the product in Italy, and you will apply a GS1 code in Italy as well. As to no surprise, that is why both are confused. So you know, some products can be made in China but with the country code from Italy. 

How does that happen? The company may be based in Italy, but the manufacturing process is in China. In this case, the country code prefix may start with 8, and there’s a “Made in China” label on the product. With this basic knowledge, you can read any barcode and impress your friends. 

Where to Buy Barcodes?

Now that you know these technicalities let’s get into business. Where do you buy barcodes? Don’t sweat it out with lengthy applications and costly memberships. You can directly avail of legit third-party barcode sellers. 

You can directly contact Unique Product Codes for your barcode needs. May it be EAN or UPC barcodes, enjoy affordable offers and hassle-free process. Are you still confused about what barcode you need? That’s okay! Our team members here at Unique Product Codes are ready to guide you all the way.

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