As China’s most popular messaging application, it is ubiquitous in everyday life. Chinese use Wechat to chat, post updates, make a payment, check the news, and so on. Using WeChat offers you the opportunity to experience Chinese daily life. Thus, in this article, we will show you how to download and set up WeChat, how to use WeChat to keep in touch with people, and how to pay like a local while in China.
It’s easy to set up a WeChat account as the process is quite similar to WhatsApp. You just need to download the WeChat app from the app store and create an account using your phone number. Here is the article to guide you How to Use WeChat.
WeChat Pay is a payment solution integrated inside WeChat. You can use it to pay for almost anything in China. Here is the article to guide you How to Use WeChat Pay and Link a Bank Card.
Another digital payment widely used in China is Alipay. It also offers QR code for public transportation payment, makes taking bus or subway much easier.
You can download Alipay app from the App Store. Register an account with an email address or foreign phone number, and you can link your bank card with the app to activate your digital payment. Here is an article to guide you How to Use Alipay.
Didi is a Chinese leading mobile transportation platform. In one word, it’s the Chinese Uber. Download the Didi – Greater China app from the App Store.
You can choose to register by your foreign phone number (choose the right region code) or the WeChat account. Type in your current location and destination, then you can just wait for the driver to pick you up. Didi supports Alipay, WeChat Pay account, and Visa/MasterCard/JCB/Discover/Diners. Read this article for more info about How to Use Didi.
Since 2016, sharing bicycles have taken over the city. Nowadays, Mobike is the dominant provider funded by China tech giant Tencent. The whole use is very easy. Just download Mobike from App Store and finish ID verification. Use the app to locate available bikes nearby, then scan the QR code on the bike to unlock. When you finish the riding, just park it and lock it manually.
The current single-use cost of Mobike is typically 2-3 RMB per hour. Remember Mobike’s signature orange color! Don’t mix it with other sharing bikes.
Pleco is a helpful Chinese-English dictionary app, which provides translations in both Chinese characters and pinyin, and can work offline.
Pleco is good at short translation, you can use it to help you improve short conversations with friends.
You can use the “word” tab to detect English words and it will give you the Chinese meaning, and you can use the “camera” tab to take a photo of the Chinese sentences, it can directly translate it into English. However it doesn’t offer translation in pinyin or do sentence translation offline.
Baidu Search Engine
Baidu (www.baidu.com) is the dominant Chinese internet search engine – basically the Google of China. If you want to search for anything in China and doesn’t have VPN to use Google, just “Baidu” it.
Baidu Maps is a reliable map app widely used in China. Although it is totally in Chinese, you still can type in English addresses and get the correct results and directions.
Gaode Maps is another map app widely used in China. There is no big difference between it and Baidu Maps.
This is a very helpful metro app for newcomers to use as it provides the English version.
This app covers most of the major cities in China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Chongqing, Wuhan, Chengdu, Suzhou, and so on.
Looking for food delivery? Check Sherpa’s and you will have hundreds of restaurant choices. The app is in English and easy to use, you will find the restaurant’s full menu is displayed and usually with pictures.
trip.com is a well-developed Chinese online provider of travel services. You can book accommodation reservations, airplanes, trains and other transportation tickets here so it will be a great help for your travel to China.
At last, there are some useful city websites that include local events, restaurants, attractions, and other helpful travel tips: