Smartphones are our every day life’s tools, but in China you really can’t exist without them. You use your phone to communicate, pay, travel, going to cinema,… I know that well, even in Czech we know can do most of these things as well, but once you are in China you realise how faaar behind we are.
I decided to make a list of apps I use the most while in China.
- WeChatLiterally every day go to and most widespread app in China. Since they don’t use fb (that much), WeChat provides the communication channel. But it’s not only the messages.
If you connect your bank card to your WeChat account, you are able to pay via QR codes, you can book cinema, train tickets, flight tickets, order a meal or for example unlock a bike for bikesharing.
- AlipayIf some shops don’t allow you pay with your WeChat, you have Alipay. Most of the places do both, some only one of them and very rarely neither. Alipay also let you order didi (Chinese uber), food, cinema and you know how this list continues. You also need Alipay to set up a taobao.
- TaobaoI bet almost everyone of you knows the famous chinese server Aliexpress where you can find everything what was ever invented. Well.. Taobao is something like that, but bigger. I have some friends who ordered something every day and then cried because of the time or money consumption. I say everything in moderation, so the only thing I ordered were boardgames (hah), but it’s good to know where to buy things you need.
- Baidu dituAs you may know, China isn’t really fond of Google, so Google maps will not help you out there. This is when you use Baidu maps (ditu=map). They are very convenient, the only con is that they are in Chinese.
- Mobike, offo, etc.Those are the bikesharing apps. Each company has a different colour and each city a different „leader“, so this is really on your own preference (or the city), but I’ll give you some basic info.
Offo – 200CNY deposit before you are allowed to bike, very cheap, the oldest bikes, everywhere
Mobike – no deposit, 1CNY per ride or 5CNY per month, everywhere, old and new, needed passport photo
Hellobike – no deposit, no passport photo, 1CNY per ride or 12CNY per month, new, not that widespread
O bike/ didi bike – no deposit, passport photo, 1CNY per ride, 2CNY per first month, 5CNY monthly usually, not many, very new, bigger
- VPNI don’t know why I didn’t put this one at the beginning, because if you want to stay in touch with your fam and friends everywhere else in the world, this is what you need. Without VPN you can’t use Fb, Insta, Google and other apps we are all so used to use all the time. But the question is – should you buy a VPN or use the free one? I did use the paid one (express VPN) for half a year and I was very disappointed. There were times when it didn’t work, once even for one week (the free ones did) and it was very inconvenient. When I pay for something, I expect it to work. So next semester I will use the free ones as my classmates and see the difference.
tip: If you have your VPN on, you can’t pay with WeChat etc, also sending messages takes a lot longer. So always you have to decide whether you want to pay something or you want to be on instagram.