Here are 20 apps (in no particular order) highly recommended for expats who live or travel in China.
1. WeChat 微信
WeChat is a mobile social network application with more than a billion users. Developed by Chinese technology giant Tencent, it is the Chinese version of WhatsApp and the most popular instant messaging service in China. Users can send voice messages, photos, videos and text messages, make audio and video calls, chat in groups, and share their real-time location with friends. Users can also post updates, photos or videos on the app's social function, or 'pengyouquan'. WeChat Pay is also one of the top online payment options in the world.
2. Weibo 微博
Weibo is a leading social media platform for people to create, share and discover content online, like Facebook and Twitter. Users can post updates and express ideas in real time. They can create and post a feed, attaching multi-media and long-form content. People can also follow any other user and add comments to a feed while reposting. Its search list enables users to follow the hot issues and breaking news.
3. Meituan 美团
Although food delivery is its core business, Meituan is an on-demand platform that covers a wide range of services, including gourmet recommendations, takeaway food orders, delivery of daily necessities and medicines, hotel booking, discounts on tourist products, and customer ratings. It helps make the lives of its users more convenient, and has become a must-have app for many people.
4. Dianping 大众点评
A Chinese equivalent of TripAdvisor and Yelp, Dianping not only provides users with business information, consumer reviews and discounts, but also offers 'online-to-offline' trading services such as group-buying, restaurant reservations, on-demand delivery and electronic membership cards. Users can make an informed decision on a purchase after scrolling through a large number of genuine customer reviews.
5. Eleme 饿了么
Similar to Deliveroo, this app enables people to buy food, search for nearby takeaways, make a reservation, or even update the takeaway delivery at any time.
Users can also add their favorite restaurants to collection lists, and enjoy discounts.
6. Hemaxiansheng 盒马鲜生
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group's online-to-offline fresh produce retailer Hemaxiansheng, or Hema Fresh Store, serves as a supermarket, restaurant and food market, providing users with a one-stop shopping experience ranging from fresh food to catering services. Consumers can place orders on the app and enjoy a 30-minute door-to-door delivery service within three kilometers.
7. Taobao 手机淘宝
Similar to Amazon, it meets the needs of users' daily consumption and online shopping, including daily necessities, cosmetics, entertainment, books, and electronic appliances. Many brands, such as Uniqlo, have opened digital flagship stores on it.
8. JD 京东
The JD app sells 40.2 million products in 13 categories, including electronic appliances, digital communications, computers, household supplies, clothing and accessories, maternal and infant supplies, cosmetics, personal care, food, and travel.
9. Alipay 支付宝
As one of the leading independent third-party payment platforms in the world, Alipay provides users with secure and fast electronic payments, online payments, mobile payments, transfers, payments of water, electricity and gas fees and credit card repayments, as well as Yu'ebao, an internet-based money market fund.
Pleco is a Chinese dictionary app with several functions, and one of the most widely used and highly-acclaimed products in its field. Users can query in Chinese, English, Pinyin, handwriting, and glyph. It has abundant word explanations and provides a large number of references on related phrases while listing similar-looking Chinese characters.
11. Baidu 百度
Baidu is a Chinese search engine that contains a variety of data. Known as the Chinese version of Google, it can help you find the information you want. At the same time, it regularly pushes news and videos to users.
12. Ctrip 携程旅行
A Chinese equivalent to Expedia and Priceline, Ctrip provides many kinds of travel services including accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, package tours, corporate travel management, guides to attractions and hotels, and food recommendations.
13. Gaode maps 高德地图
China's equivalent to Google Maps, the Alibaba-backed map service provider Gaode offers precise positioning and can recommend the best route to your destination. It will provide a corresponding travel plan depending on the means of transportation you choose. Users can also get information about traffic restrictions and toll fees on it.
14. DiDi Chuxing 滴滴出行
Didi Chuxing is a mobile transportation platform, offering a full range of commuting options, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, Hitch (social ride-sharing), chauffeur services, shuttle buses, test drives, car rental, travel solutions for businesses, and bike-sharing.
15. Linkedln 领英
LinkedIn is the world's largest employment-oriented social networking platform. It offers job opportunities to users with multilingual services.
16. Boss Zhipin BOSS直聘
Boss Zhipin is a mobile recruitment app, which directly connects job seekers and employers. Users with better Chinese can chat on the app with business executives or even company founders one-to-one to get offers efficiently.
17. China Daily 中国日报
China Daily is the largest English portal in China, providing domestic and international news, and has columns including China, World, Opinion, Business, Sports, Watch this, Culture, Travel, and Lifestyle.
18. Iqiyi 爱奇艺
Similar to YouTube, Iqiyi is a Chinese provider of high-quality video and entertainment services. Users can enjoy abundant and diverse resources covering films, TV series, animation, and music on it.
19. Douyin (Tik Tok) 抖音短视频
Douyin (Tik Tok) is a popular social media app that allows users to watch, create, and share short videos on mobile devices. Users can watch and produce personalized feeds of quirky and creative short videos. Besides adding effects like filters, background music, and stickers to their videos, users can also collaborate on content even if they're in different locations and create split-screen duet videos.
Keep is a fitness app providing one-stop sports services such as online running training, cycling fitness diet guidance and equipment purchase and even social networking. Its personalized training courses help users improve their fitness exercises. It can also record the data and enables you to share them with other users on the platform.