In a society where people spend 90% of their day on their phone (probably), there are undoubtedly some great apps that have changed the way many people live. Convenience is King – you have everything you need in the palm of your hand (and you know you can also use it to call people, right?)
I’ve selected the apps that have made my life in China easier, from travel, to entertainment, to payment – many of which I use every day.
Apps For Communicating
Your first (and sometimes only) point of contact with your friends. People in China use WeChat to message and phone each other, as well as update their ‘moments’ (similar to a Facebook wall), read news articles, book trains, check movie times and pay for almost anything using WeChat Wallet.
A handy translating app. Pleco downloads its word database to your phone, so you can also access it without a mobile network connection. It also has some pretty amazing in-app features such as a camera recognition device for translating characters (handy when trying to figure out a menu!), and even flash cards which are great for studying Chinese.
Transport and Travel
C-trip is a great app for booking trains, flights and hotels both domestically and internationally. They often have good deals on travel and the app is super easy to navigate.
Bike sharing has hit China hard, with OFO and Mobike at the centre of it all (although the competitors have risen in abundance). Bike sharing makes travel in China healthy and eco-friendly. Gone are the days where you have to commit to buying a bike of your own. These bikes are an excellent way to see the city you live in without having to worry about where you park your bike!
If bike sharing isn’t your style, it’s handy to have a metro map of the city that you live in (or you are travelling to) on your phone. Plan ahead and avoid getting lost!
Baidu maps is like a Chinese Google Maps. It can show you where you are and direct you to your destination, whether you’re walking, driving or using public transport. Simply input your destination in characters (or copy and paste) and follow the map.
QQ Music is my favourite way to listen to music in China. Most songs and artists are on here to listen and download for free, with some exceptions you can pay to download.
Bili Bili is a Japanese app that is likened to Netflix. It has a database of films and TV to watch for free on your device. You’ll have to create an account; after which you’ll have access to a whole database of entertainment which you can watch on your smartphone or tablet.
E Le Ma
This is a Chinese app that delivers food from most restaurants in the city that you live in, right to your door. It’s all in Chinese (which takes some getting used to), but once you’ve found the restaurants and dishes you like it’s pretty easy. Convenience at its best.
Sherpa’s is a delivery service that operates in Shanghai, Beijing and Suzhou. It has a mixture of restaurants citywide of all ethnicities and styles, for those rainy days when going outside is just not happening.
Mobile Payment Apps
WeChat and Alipay
Virtual payment has almost replaced cash in China. You can pay for groceries, clothes, bills, order food, order a taxi, send money to your friends… the list goes on. Who needs cash? Just remember to charge your phone!
Post by Jaye Plant, EF English First Shanghai
Learn more about Jaye: Click Here