Life in China can be hard without a smart-phone since most of the daily services can be done online and it does make life much easier. So this brings us to the question “what are the most common apps that makes life easier in China?” What do you need to know about them before coming to China or making conversations with Chinese like a know-it-all? Hereby, I would love to strongly recommend these super useful apps that most Chinese have downloaded on their cell phones.
The handiest app should definitely be WeChat, an app nearly every foreigner should possess if they have contacts with Chinese. Its main function is a little bit similar to WhatsApp which is to chat with people through typing, voice and video call. However it offers more functions such as posting photos and videos, making payments, reading articles and news and etc. Most companies will also create official account on it as a social media channel to conduct marketing activities. All in all if Chinese can only download one app from the app store, this is the exact one over 95% of people will choose.
Jack Ma (马云) has made it so easy for Chinese to purchase almost everything on line! People make jokes that there is basically nothing you can’t find on taobao. It is also known for selling cheap products and helping ordinary people easily start business on the platform. Every year, the 11.11(11th November) and 12.12(12th December) are very important shopping dates for Chinese people because E-commercial websites like Taobao give out huge integrated discounts. According to the statistics, the overall sales on Taobao on the 11th of Nov, 2015 was 91.217 billion RMB. Isn’t it incredible?
This is a third-party payment platform also created by Alibaba Group (Jack Ma) which doesn’t charge transaction fees. Nowadays with its amazing development, it is commonly used in situation that requires payment. According to an analyst research report, Alipay has the biggest market share in China. It operates with many financial institutions including Visa and MasterCard, people can basically use it to pay bills, purchase goods, make investment, order online service and save money.
QQ is an instant messaging software service which offers various services such as; online social games, music, shopping, platform of games and group/ voice chat. There are nearly 0.1 billion active accounts which counts for about 8% of the whole population. It has become a custom for the users to open it while turning on the computer and just leave it opened until it is needed. Sometimes when a man is too shy to ask for a lady’s phone number he might choose to ask for the QQ number, it is not that straightforward but it works as well as a phone number or even better.
5. 知乎 Zhi Hu
It is a platform for people to find professional answers to certain questions, like a Chinese version of Quora. If by any chance, you have any questions and you would love to get opinions from the Chinese, you might like to try zhihu instead of Quora. As far as I am concerned, there are foreigners with perfect Chinese whom have also created columns on it answering people’s questions on foreigners’ lives in China.
6. 美图秀秀 Meitu Xiuxiu
It is widely spread that there are four kinds of “magic tricks” in Asia; the trans-sexuality surgery in Thailand, the plastic surgery in Korea, the make-up skills in Japan and the PS capacity (Photoshop) in China. Well, a joke is just a joke. But it does show how crazy Chinese are in modifying the photos before they finally post them online, mainly the Chinese women. Meitu Xiuxiu is one of the apps which make it so easy to get a fancy photo in just one second.
7. 滴滴 Didi Kuaidi
Didi is a Chinese transportation network company which provides vehicles and taxis for hire in China and is similar to its larger American-based peer Uber. It is formed from the merger of rival firms Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache. Now it has one of the biggest market share in China. Since Uber is not available in every city in China, Didi might be your best shot when you want to call for a lift.
8. 微博 Weibo
Weibo is the Chinese word for microblog which can be compared to twitter. People can use it to make a post within 140 Chinese characters containing the photos, videos and website links. It covers a wide range of topics and is considered as the most liberal site for people to speak out freely. Most of the celebrities own accounts which makes it easy for their fans to follow up their lives.
All in all, with the assistance of these handy apps, life in China can be a lot easier and convenient. However, I want to kindly remind you that understanding Chinese is the biggest obstacle you have to overcome before you are able to access to most of the functions, (Fortunately, QQ and WeChat have already launched the English version.) So let’s get Chinesetic first!