China is one of the world’s fastest growing countries. There is a surprising amount of advanced technologies that have an impact on modern life. The most commonly used device in daily life in China is the smart phones.
Across the country, people depend on their mobile phones for a multitude of uses. A variety of APPs are designed to help people connect socially, pay for goods and services, shop online, travel, and entertain. Anywhere you go and everything you do can be paid for or managed via your cellphone in China. This brings a whole new level of convenience that is unheard of in the rest of the world. Just be sure to keep your phone charged!
Messaging and Social Media
Regardless of where you are headed in China, keeping in touch with friends and family is more than essential. Because of this, Chinese companies have developed cutting edge social media applications to keep everyone connected and up to date with the latest news and trends.
WeChat has become the breakout messaging app in China, equivalent to WhatsApp. It is another popular social media produced by Tencent, China’s tech giant, created after QQ. This is an absolute must if you’re coming to live in China or here for an extended period, or if you want to communicate with pretty much anyone in China. Everyone that has a phone uses WeChat for some purpose. You can connect with friends, family, and strangers to share messages, photos, and videos. WeChat is often used for more intimate conversation. You can also share PYQ (stories) of photos or videos with all of your friends on the application. Learn more on How to Use WeChat.
QQ was the first messaging platform created by Tencent in 1999. While this application once was the front runner of messaging and file sharing, it has since changed from a daily use APP to one focused on business applications. QQ offers most Chinese people with access to their personal and professional emailing service, using a platform that is comparable to Gmail. QQ also still has instant messaging and file sharing capabilities that have proven extremely useful in professional environments. For those looking to conduct business in China, QQ is a must-have.
Sina Weibo is one of the most popular social media applications in China. Similar to Twitter, it allows users to share short messages to the platform about any topic. There are millions of celebrities, companies, and communities specializing in different topics. Finding fame on Weibo may be hard due to the massive amounts of users, but it is the best place to stay caught up with all of the most recent trends.
One of the most advanced features of Chinese APPs is the ability to pay for nearly every good and service on your phone. While it is common that the older generation is still using paper money, China is quickly becoming a cashless society, all because of two wildly popular applications. Paying with these applications is easier than ever, just scan the QR code from the vendor or show your paying QR code and you bill is paid!
As an important function of WeChat, WeChat Pay is a popular payment method. From small grocery store to big super market, WeChat Pay is available. It leads the trend of cashless society. It is also used by nearly everyone for everyday things, like splitting the bill for dinner with friends. It is extremely simple to send and receive money to your friends on WeChat.
Alibaba is the tech giant of China. Offering tech services in nearly every sector, one of the most commonly used features by the masses is AliPay. With endless amounts of places to use AliPay, mobile users find AliPay as a great way to pay for utilities, housing, business expenses, and even directly paying for travel.
Regardless of your age or profession, everyone enjoys winding down with some great mobile entertainment. If it is movies, TV, or short videos, there is a Chinese application for your needs. In China, many of the entertainment based applications will keep you occupied with thousands and thousands of hours of new content coming all the time. Many people also suggest using these applications if you are looking for a more applicable way to learn some Chinese using real-life cultural tools.
Douyin / TikTok
TikTok has taken the world by storm, offering short videos made from individuals about any topic. Humor, romance, informative, or relaxing content is all found on TikTok. While TikTok is the international name for the application, the parent company, ByteDance, is based in Beijing. Their application Douying is the same as TikTok, just branded for the Chinese audience. This application has quickly become China’s most popular app, boasting hundreds of millions of users.
Youku is a widely popular streaming application where you can find videos, movies, and television from a variety of different sources in China. Youku offers users a platform that is similar to Netflix. You can also watch live events and shows on Youku. While Youku has a variety of content that is able to be streamed for free, many of the most popular shows and movies require a premium subscription to view.
Similar to YouTube, BiliBili is a platform that allows users to share original videos with millions of viewers. There are a wide variety of videos to choose from, some for entertainment and others for learning or business purposes. Many users find a wide range of topics to explore their interests and find out more about a wide range of topics. There are users that appeal to audiences of all ages and interests.
Bilibili also caters to live streaming. This has become one of the best platforms for live interaction between streamer and fans. With people spending a lot more time at home these days, livestreaming and video viewership has skyrocketed.
Online shopping has become the norm in China in recent years. While there are still many physical stores to browse in the big cities, many of them act as a storage place for their online sales distribution. There are a few popular Chinese shopping applications to choose from, each offering an outstanding selection of products to meet every need and more!
The shopping giant of China, owned by Alibaba. TaoBao is a platform that tracks trends, user reviews, and personal shopping preferences to show you some of the best products for your needs. With a wide range of sellers on the platform, it is easy to find products of any type and quality. TaoBao has perfected the user experience, making it easy to communicate with the sellers and browse user reviews
JingDong, or JD, has one of the most efficient and effective delivery services in the world. Offering high-speed delivery and a range of quality products from trusted sellers, users enjoy JD for its amazing customer satisfaction rating. After ordering on JD, you can expect the delivery on the next day!
This is the largest platform for buying and selling online in China. Users can find any product they want and need here for a surprisingly low price. One of the stand out features of this application is that users team up to approach buyers to receive better pricing. This application works like a wholesaler, but is geared toward selling to individual consumers.
From groceries to McDonalds, there are applications that can get food delivered right to your doorstep within one hour. Quick delivery and super-fast food locations allow for users to have access to a wide range of food options for any time of the day.
As the leading App of online food delivery service, Meituan has the most variety of groceries and restaurants. You can choose your order, pay with WeChat Pay or Alipay, and track the status. You can share your ordering with friends and split the bill on the App.
Similar to Meituan, but has less market shares in some regions. Being part of Alibaba enterprise, it gets impressive flow from Taobao and Alipay. When ordering takeaway, some people prefer to use Meituan and others may like Eleme better.
Regardless of where you are headed, there is a travel application ready to help you book the ticket as easily as possible. For flights, trains, subways, and taxis, there is a wide selection of choices to get you around town or around the country.
China offers an extensive and advanced railway system. The high speed railway system has made traveling around China affordable and enjoyable. 12306 is the official railway website and App to book train tickets online. It has only Chinese version so far, so you may want to seek help from Chinese friends or try other Apps with English version that can provide you with the same level of service.
If you are looking for the all-around travel companion APP, then Ctrip is the best option for you. This application allows you to book flights domestically and internationally as well as schedule and reserve accommodation in your desired location.
A simple, yet useful application for daily use, Didi is China’s version of Uber. This is a simple application to use to help you get around the city with ease. You can book taxis or private cars in this application for your short distance travels.
In China, you will find that your mobile phone becomes your best friend. With endless possibilities and uses in daily life, a mobile phone and the applications that come for them will make anyone’s life easier in China. These applications can be especially helpful for travelers to China, as you can often achieve daily tasks without needing to speak directly to someone or know more complex terms in Chinese.