My Must-Have Chinese Apps

Anything you want, there’s literally an app for that – especially in a country which is so heavily reliant on technology. Here I’ve compiled a short list of my favourite and must have Chinese apps.



Navigating China can be difficult. When you first get here, everyday encounters can be a struggle; from ordering food to getting a taxi. Pleco is the best and most popular app for translating what you need into Chinese.

It downloads the entire dictionary to your device, so you can avoid network chapleco.jpgrges or data connection failure and still communicate what you need. It has the option to play you the word so you know how to pronounce it correctly, too.

In-app features include an Optical Character Recognizer, something I found helpful when I first came to China. Just point your camera at the characters, and watch as it is translates for you. Especially helpful when deciphering a non-English menu.


QQ Music

This is my favourite app available in China. QQ music has a vast collection of music in a variety of lqqanguages; ready to download to your device. The music is updated with new albums and artists often; so the newest albums from your favourite bands and artists are probably already there.



Metro Map

You know that feeling when you’re sitting on the metro, listening to music, staring into space and you’ve gone four stops past your transfer station? I automatically whip out my phone to check where I am and if there’s a faster way to get to the correct line.
Metro maps are available for most Chinese cities, and are incredibly handy with planning journeys or avoiding getting lost.


Baidu Maps

Another helpful app when you’re prone to getting lost or bad at following directions. Baidu maps operates in Chinese, so type (or copy and paste) your destination in and watch as it routes the map for you. It has real-time location as well, so you can simply follow the arrow to make sure you’re following it correctly.


It also has the fastest and cheapest routes available with public transport; mapping out bus routes, metros and telling you how much your taxi fare should be.


Food Delivery Services

For the days when you’re too tired (ahem *hungover*) to leave your apartment. You can get most kinds of food delivered straight to your door; burgers, coffee, curry, ice-cream… oh, and noodles of course. Sherpas and Mealbay are the most popular companies.



Your gateway to buying almost anything you could ever need. From clothes to house ware, food to pet supplies, phone cases to bicycles… and everything in between. Just make sure you check out the sellers profile and reviews first.




China’s answer to YouTube, YouKu has an variety of videos from comedy clips to music videos, to TV shows. It  also has the option to download show to your device for your offline enjoyment. Probably on the metro.



Because life without social media can be difficult.

The most popular paid VPN is Express VPN, other free VPNs include Betternet and Super VPN.



Your first point of communication with basically everyone in China.

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