Chinese Social Media Apps For International Students

For international students looking to connect with others and stay updated, several Chinese social media apps can be useful. Here are some popular ones:

  1. WeChat (微信):
  2. QQ
  3. Douyin (抖音)
  4. Weibo (微博)
  5. Xiaohongshu (小红书)


For international students, WeChat is an essential app for connecting with friends, staying updated, and accessing various services. Here’s how international students typically use WeChat:

  • WeChat’s primary function is messaging. It allows you to send text, voice messages, photos, videos, and documents to individuals or groups. This is handy for keeping in touch with friends, classmates, and family back home.
  • WeChat Moments allows you to share updates, photos, and videos with your contacts. It’s a great way to share your experiences and see what others are up to.
  • Many organizations, universities, and businesses have official accounts on WeChat. International students can follow these accounts to receive news updates, event announcements, and important information related to their studies or local community.
  • WeChat Pay is widely used in China for mobile payments. International students can link their bank card to WeChat Pay to conveniently pay for everyday expenses like meals, transportation, and shopping.
  • WeChat Mini-Programs are small apps within the WeChat ecosystem that offer various services such as food delivery, transportation, ticket booking, and more. They are integrated into WeChat for easy access and use.
  • WeChat allows you to create or join groups based on common interests, classes, or activities. It’s a great way to connect with classmates, join study groups, or participate in social events.
  • WeChat can also be used for language exchange with native Chinese speakers who want to practice English or other languages. Many language exchange groups and individuals can be found on the platform.


For international students, QQ is another popular Chinese social media app that offers various features useful for staying connected and engaged. Here’s how international students typically use QQ:

  • Similar to WeChat, QQ is primarily used for messaging. It supports text messages, voice and video calls, and multimedia sharing (photos, videos, files).
  • QQ allows users to create or join groups based on common interests, classes, or activities. This is useful for connecting with classmates, joining study groups, or participating in social discussions.
  • QQ has a feature called QQ Zone, which is similar to a personal blog or social media profile. Users can share updates, photos, videos, and post content for their friends to see.
  • QQ offers a variety of online games that users can play with friends or other QQ users. This can be a fun way to relax and connect with others.
  • Like WeChat, QQ can also be used for language exchange with native Chinese speakers who are interested in practicing English or other languages.
  • QQ provides an email service known as QQ Mail. International students can use QQ Mail to send and receive emails, making it convenient for communication with professors, classmates, or other contacts.
  • QQ allows users to customize their profiles, chat themes, and emoticons, which adds a personal touch to the messaging experience.


For international students, Douyin (known as TikTok internationally) can be a fun and engaging social media app to explore Chinese culture, connect with others, and share creative content. The major difference between Douyin and TikTok is Douyin features content and trends specific to Chinese culture and interests, while TikTok showcases a broader range of global content and trends.

Here’s how international students typically use Douyin:

  • Douyin is famous for its short, catchy videos. Users can create and share videos up to 60 seconds long, covering a wide range of topics from comedy sketches to dance challenges, educational content, travel vlogs, and more.
  • Douyin\ is known for its viral trends and challenges. International students can participate in these trends, which often transcend borders and bring people together through shared experiences and creativity.
  • Douyinprovides insights into Chinese culture through content shared by Chinese users. From traditional customs to modern trends, international students can learn about various aspects of Chinese society in an engaging way.
  • Watching and creating content on Douyin can be a fun way for international students to practice Mandarin Chinese and interact with native speakers.
  • Users often share videos showcasing different parts of China, offering virtual tours of famous landmarks, cities, and cultural sites. This can be particularly valuable for international students looking to explore beyond their immediate surroundings.
  • Douyin encourages creativity and self-expression through video creation. International students can showcase their talents, share their perspectives, and build a following based on their unique content.


For international students, Weibo is a popular Chinese social media platform that functions similarly to Twitter, offering various features for staying informed, connecting with others, and engaging with Chinese culture. Here’s how international students typically use Weibo:

  • Weibo is primarily used for microblogging, where users can post short messages (up to 140 characters originally, now up to 2,000 characters), photos, videos, and links. This allows international students to share updates, thoughts, and experiences with their followers.
  • International students can follow a wide range of accounts on Weibo, including celebrities, influencers, news organizations, brands, and educational institutions. Following these accounts helps students stay updated on trends, news, and events in China.
  • Weibo prominently displays trending topics (热搜话题) based on popularity and user engagement. International students can explore these topics to understand current events, cultural phenomena, and discussions trending among Chinese users.
  • Weibo supports the sharing of multimedia content such as photos, videos, and live streams. This allows international students to share visual aspects of their experiences in China and engage with content shared by others.
  • Weibo provides insights into Chinese culture through content shared by local users. International students can learn about cultural practices, festivals, entertainment, and more through the posts and interactions on the platform.
  • Engaging with posts, comments, and discussions on Weibo can help international students practice reading and understanding Mandarin Chinese, as well as communicating with native speakers.
  • Weibo facilitates discussions through comments and reposts (转发). International students can participate in conversations, share their opinions, and connect with others who share similar interests or viewpoints.


For international students, Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) is a popular Chinese social media platform that combines elements of e-commerce, content creation, and community interaction. Here’s how international students typically use Xiaohongshu:

  • Xiaohongshu is known for its focus on product reviews, recommendations, and shopping. International students can explore a wide range of products, including fashion, beauty, electronics, and more. The platform provides detailed reviews, ratings, and user-generated content to help users make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Users on Xiaohongshu can create and share posts, similar to a blend of Instagram and product reviews. International students can share their experiences, recommendations, and insights about products they’ve tried or places they’ve visited in China.
  • Xiaohongshu is also used as a platform for travel tips, lifestyle content, and cultural exploration. International students can discover hidden gems, local customs, and travel itineraries shared by other users, making it a valuable resource for exploring China beyond their campus or city.
  • Xiaohongshu fosters a community atmosphere where users can follow each other, like and comment on posts, and engage in discussions. International students can connect with local users and fellow expatriates, sharing experiences and building connections based on common interests.
  • Engaging with posts and reviews in Chinese on Xiaohongshu can help international students practice and improve their Mandarin language skills, especially in contexts related to shopping, lifestyle, and travel.
  • Xiaohongshu is also popular among influencers and brands for collaborations and sponsored content. International students interested in social media marketing or influencer partnerships can observe and participate in these dynamics.
  • Xiaohongshu offers insights into Chinese consumer behavior, fashion trends, beauty standards, and lifestyle preferences. International students can gain a deeper understanding of Chinese culture through the content shared by local users.

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