10 Apps That Must Be Installed On Your Phone When You are in china

The internet and social media in China are different from other countries. Most of the apps that are very popular around the world are not used in China. On the other hand, the apps used in China are unique and having them on the phone makes life in China much easier.

Apps that must be installed on your phone when you are in China:

  1. WeChat (微信)
  2. Alipay (支付宝)
  3. Didi (滴滴出行)
  4. Meituan (美团)
  5. Amap (高德地图)
  6. Douyin (抖音)
  7. Baidu Fanyi (百度翻译)
  8. Pinduoduo (拼多多)
  9. Xiaohongshu (小红书)
  10. iQiyi (爱奇艺)


WeChat is a multi-purpose messaging, social media, and mobile payment app developed by Tencent in China.

Some of the features of WeChat:

  • Allowing users to send text and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, videos, and other media with individuals or groups.
  • Functioning as a social media platform where users can post updates, share photos, videos, and articles on their “Moments” feed, which is similar to Facebook’s News Feed.
  • WeChat Pay, integrated into the app, allows users to make mobile payments online. It’s widely used for various transactions, including shopping, bill payments, and transferring money to friends.
  • It has a feature called Mini Programs, which are small applications within the app that offer services like food delivery, ride-hailing, ticket booking, and more. Users can access these mini programs without leaving the app.
  • Individuals, businesses, and organizations can create Official Accounts on WeChat to connect with users. These accounts can be used for customer service, marketing, and content distribution.
  • Each WeChat user has a unique WeChat ID, which serves as their username. Users can connect with others by searching for their WeChat ID or scanning their QR code.


Alipay is a leading third-party mobile and online payment platform developed by the Chinese tech company Alibaba Group.

Some of the features of Alipay:

  • Allowing users to make payments for a wide range of services, both online and offline, using their smartphones. It’s widely accepted in China for various transactions, including shopping, dining, transportation, utility bills, and more.
  • Serving as a digital wallet where users can link their bank accounts, credit or debit cards, and other payment methods to make transactions securely.
  • Similar to WeChat Pay, Alipay utilizes QR codes for transactions. Users can scan QR codes at participating merchants’ terminals to make payments quickly and conveniently.
  • While initially focused on the Chinese market, Alipay has expanded its presence globally. It’s accepted at numerous merchants and businesses worldwide, particularly in popular tourist destinations frequented by Chinese travelers.
  • In addition to payment processing, it offers various financial services, including wealth management, lending, insurance, and credit scoring. Users can access these services within the app.
  • Featuring Mini Programs, similar to those on WeChat, which provide access to a variety of services and utilities without leaving the Alipay app.
  • Emphasizing security and employs advanced encryption technologies to protect users’ financial information. It also offers features such as facial recognition and fingerprint authentication for added security.
  • Alipay is part of the Alibaba ecosystem, which includes e-commerce platforms like Taobao and Tmall. It has formed partnerships with various businesses and financial institutions to expand its services and offerings.

DiDi (滴滴出行)

Didi is a Chinese multinational transportation network company headquartered in Beijing.

Some of the features of Didi:

  • Operating as a ride-hailing platform, connecting passengers with drivers for on-demand transportation services. Users can request rides through the Didi mobile app, specifying their pick-up and drop-off locations.
  • Offering various transportation options, including private cars, taxis, express buses, and even bike-sharing services in some cities. The platform provides convenience and flexibility for users to choose the most suitable mode of transportation for their needs.
  • While Didi initially focused on the Chinese market, it has expanded its operations internationally through partnerships and acquisitions. Didi has invested in or acquired ride-hailing companies in several countries, including Uber China, 99 in Brazil, Taxify (now known as Bolt) in Europe, and Careem in the Middle East.
  • Placing a strong emphasis on safety and has implemented various measures to enhance passenger and driver safety. This includes real-time ride monitoring, driver background checks, emergency assistance features, and safety education programs.
  • Offering various incentive programs and bonuses to attract and retain drivers on its platform. These incentives may include bonuses for completing a certain number of rides, providing high-quality service, or referring new drivers to the platform.
  • Leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning to optimize its operations, improve matching algorithms, and enhance the overall user experience.

Meituan (美团)

Meituan, officially known as Meituan Dianping, is a Chinese technology platform providing various services primarily focused on e-commerce, food delivery, and local services.

Some of the features of Meituan:

  • Operating as an online marketplace where users can purchase a wide range of products, including groceries, electronics, clothing, and household items. It offers both business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce services.
  • It is one of the largest online food delivery platforms in China, allowing users to order food from local restaurants and have it delivered to their doorstep. It offers a convenient way for users to access a variety of cuisines and dining options.
  • In addition to food delivery, Meituan provides a range of other local services, such as hotel bookings, travel reservations, movie ticket purchases, beauty and wellness services, and home services like cleaning and repairs.
  • Pioneering the concept of group buying in China, where users can enjoy discounts on products and services by forming groups and making bulk purchases together. This model has been particularly successful for restaurant deals and other local services.
  • Meituan has integrated its services with popular messaging and social media platform WeChat, allowing users to access Meituan’s features directly within the WeChat app. This integration enhances convenience and accessibility for users.

Amap (高德地图)

Gaode Ditu, commonly known as simply Gaode, is a popular mapping, navigation, and location-based services platform in China.

Some of the features of Gaode Ditu:

  • Providing detailed maps and navigation services, allowing users to search for locations, get directions for driving, walking, or public transportation, and view real-time traffic information.
  • Real-time traffic information, which helps users plan their routes and avoid congestion. The platform offers traffic updates, congestion predictions, and alternative routes to optimize travel time.
  • Including information on public transportation systems, such as bus routes, subway lines, and train schedules. Users can plan their journeys using public transportation options and access real-time arrival and departure information.
  • Offering various location-based services, such as nearby restaurant recommendations, hotel bookings, weather forecasts, and local business information. Users can discover points of interest and services in their vicinity based on their current location.
  • Gaode Ditu integrates with other popular apps and services in China, such as e-commerce platforms, ride-hailing services, and food delivery apps. This integration enhances the user experience by providing seamless access to additional services.

Douyin (抖音)

Douyin, known as TikTok outside of China, is a popular short-form video platform developed by the Chinese company ByteDance.

Some of Douyin’s key features:

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  • Allowing users to create and share short videos ranging from a few seconds to one minute in length. Users can capture and edit videos within the app, adding effects, filters, music, and text overlays.
  • Providing an extensive library of music and sound effects that users can add to their videos. Users can search for songs, browse trending tracks, and discover new music to enhance their videos.
  • Offering a variety of video editing tools and features, including filters, special effects, transitions, and video playback speed adjustments. Users can customize their videos to create unique and engaging content.
  • Douyin’s algorithm analyzes user preferences, engagement patterns, and browsing history to provide personalized video recommendations. The app’s “For You” feed showcases videos tailored to each user’s interests and preferences.
  • Allowing users to broadcast live video streams to their followers in real-time. Live streaming enables interaction between creators and their audience, including live chats, virtual gifts, and audience participation.
  • Featuring a “Duets” function that allows users to create split-screen videos alongside existing content. This feature enables collaboration between users, remixing of videos, and creative interactions.
  • Including interactive features such as polls, quizzes, and question-and-answer sessions that creators can incorporate into their videos to engage their audience and solicit feedback.
  • Offering various monetization opportunities for creators, including brand partnerships, sponsored content, virtual gifts from viewers, and participation in the app’s Creator Fund program.

Baidu Fanyi (百度翻译)

Baidu Fanyi is an online translation service developed by Baidu, Inc., one of China’s leading technology companies.

Some of Baidu Fanyi’s key features:

  • Allowing users to translate text between various languages, including Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), English, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, German, and more. Users can input text manually or upload documents for translation.
  • Baidu Fanyi offers a feature that allows users to translate entire web pages by entering the URL. This feature is particularly useful for accessing foreign language content online.
  • Providing instant translation of text as users type, enabling real-time translation during conversations or while writing documents.
  • Supporting speech translation, allowing users to translate spoken words or phrases between languages. Users can speak into their device’s microphone, and the app will provide a translated text or spoken response.
  • Including an image translation feature that allows users to translate text captured in images. Users can take a photo of text using their device’s camera, and the app will recognize and translate the text within the image.
  • Providing different translation modes to suit various needs, including general translation, business translation, academic translation, and more specialized translation options.
  • Baidu Fanyi is integrated with other Baidu services and products, such as Baidu Search and Baidu Maps, providing a seamless user experience across Baidu’s ecosystem of products and services.

Pinduoduo (拼多多)

Pinduoduo is a Chinese e-commerce platform that stands out for its group-buying model and focus on affordability.

Some of Pinduoduo’s key features:

  • Pinduoduo is known for offering a wide range of products at competitive prices, often significantly lower than those found on other e-commerce platforms. This affordability is achieved through bulk purchasing and direct sales from manufacturers.
  • Providings an interactive shopping experience with features like interactive games, daily check-ins, and reward systems that encourage user engagement and participation.
  • Integrating social elements into its platform, allowing users to share product links, invite friends to join group purchases, and participate in group discussions. Social sharing and referrals are incentivized with discounts and rewards.
  • Regularly offers flash sales and limited-time deals on popular products, creating a sense of urgency and encouraging users to make quick purchasing decisions.
  • In addition to consumer goods, Pinduoduo also offers a wide selection of fresh produce, agricultural products, and groceries sourced directly from farmers and agricultural producers.
  • Pinduoduo integrates with the popular messaging and social media platform WeChat, enabling users to access Pinduoduo’s services directly within the WeChat app. This integration enhances convenience and accessibility for users.
  • Leveraging data analytics and machine learning algorithms to provide personalized product recommendations based on users’ browsing history, purchase behavior, and preferences.

Xiaohongshu (小红书)

Xiaohongshu, also known as Little Red Book or RED, is a popular social e-commerce platform in China that combines social networking with online shopping.

Some of Xiaohongshu’s key features:

  • Allowing users to discover and explore a wide range of products across various categories, including fashion, beauty, skincare, health, travel, food, and more. Users can browse through curated content, user reviews, and recommendations to find products they’re interested in.
  • Users on Xiaohongshu can create and share content such as product reviews, recommendations, tutorials, and lifestyle tips. User-generated content plays a significant role in shaping the platform’s community and influencing purchasing decisions.
  • Featuring shopping guides and curated lists created by influencers, brands, and other users. These guides provide valuable insights and recommendations for shopping trends, popular products, and must-have items.
  • Functioning as a social networking platform where users can follow friends, influencers, and brands, as well as interact with their content through likes, comments, and shares. Users can also create and join interest-based communities to connect with like-minded individuals.
  • Xiaohongshu seamlessly integrates social networking with e-commerce, allowing users to purchase products directly within the app. Users can add items to their shopping cart, make purchases, and track their orders without leaving Xiaohongshu.
  • Influencer marketing plays a significant role on Xiaohongshu, with influencers (also known as Key Opinion Leaders or KOLs) creating content to promote products and brands. Influencers often collaborate with brands to create sponsored content and drive sales.
  • Encouraging community engagement through various features such as Q&A sessions, polls, contests, and live streaming. These interactive features help foster a sense of community and user engagement on the platform.
  • Providing users with content creation tools and features to enhance their posts, including photo editing tools, filters, stickers, and text overlays. These tools help users create visually appealing and engaging content.

iQIYI (爱奇艺)

QIYI is a leading online streaming platform in China that offers a wide range of entertainment content, including movies, TV shows, dramas, variety shows, and original programming.

Some of iQIYI’s key features:

  • Providing a vast library of licensed content, including both domestic and international movies, TV series, documentaries, and animations. Users can stream content on-demand anytime, anywhere, through the iQIYI website or mobile app.
  • Producing a significant amount of original programming, including dramas, reality shows, variety shows, and movies. These original productions are exclusive to iQIYI and often attract a large audience of subscribers.
  • Offering a VIP membership program that provides subscribers with access to exclusive content, early access to new releases, ad-free streaming, and other benefits. VIP members also enjoy priority customer support and special discounts on merchandise and events.
  • Supporting multi-screen viewing, allowing users to stream content on various devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and computers. Users can pick up where they left off and seamlessly switch between devices.
  • Allowing users to download select content for offline viewing, making it convenient for users to watch their favorite shows and movies without an internet connection.
  • Offering live streaming of special events, concerts, sports matches, and other live performances. Users can watch live broadcasts in real-time and participate in interactive features such as live chats and polls.
  • Providing parental control features that allow parents to restrict access to certain content based on age ratings and content categories. Parents can set up profiles for their children and monitor their viewing activity.
  • Including interactive features such as quizzes, polls, and audience participation during live events and shows. These features enhance user engagement and create a more immersive viewing experience.

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