Top 10 English Apps You Must Have While Living in China

by PandaBoo

Before beginning your adventure of living abroad in China, it’s highly recommended to have at least a couple of these handy apps downloaded, and set up on your phone. They will make your life much easier while you’re adjusting to your new home.

1. WeChat

Why Do You Need WeChat?

WeChat is a necessity; especially in China! It’s a social media app that allows you to do anything that you would normally do in your everyday life. You can pay for goods, and services, like your electricity bill, top up your phone, and even shop online, all with the touch of a finger. You can go cashless, and still stay connected with friends, and family. WeChat also has a handy translating function that you can use as well. All you have to do is hold your finger down on the message you would like translated for a long press; wait for the pop up menu then tab across, and press translate. You will now be able to read any Chinese message that is sent to you.

wechat icon

WeChat is a very useful app that allows you to do many things, besides just pay for stuff. It also supports 20 different languages making communicating simple wherever you are. Try using the real time location feature to let your friends know where your new favourite cafe is, or try sharing your favourite Moments with friends, and family by using your personal photo stream. You can even send and share files with colleagues.

download on the app storeget it on google playdownload for android

2. DiDi

Why DiDi?

Have you ever used an app called UBER? Well, DiDi is the Chinese version of UBER. If you can’t speak Chinese, and you need to go somewhere, all you have to do is open up the app and type in your pick up and drop off locations. DiDi will get you a hassle free ride within minutes!

didi icon

Not only is DiDi safe, and fast. It’s also a reliable service. The app also features in-app messaging allowing you to communicate with your driver in Chinese and in English. Pay for your ride using the app, or in cash (Taxi Service Only).

download on the app storeget it on google playdownload for android

3. Microsoft Translator/Google Translator

Do I Need A Translator?

Unless you can speak fluent Chinese you’re going to need a translator of some sort to help you out. Our recommendation is the Microsoft Translator App. It’s a very useful tool, that can be used offline, and offers a variety of different ways to communicate, along with a phrase book of popular, and common sayings.

All you have to do is select the languages you will be using, and then type in what you need, or want. Try using the microphone, or even take a picture to translate signs, and menu’s. Translation is fast and simple.

download on the app storeget it on google playdownload for android


google translator

Another great App for your translating needs is the Google Translator App. It works very similar to the Microsoft translator, in that you can translate as you type in 103 different languages, and you can upload or take a photo to translate. It also works offline with no internet connection, however the offline function only supports 59 different languages.

Translating is easy, with either of these handy apps. Pick whichever one suits your needs best, and you will be up and communicating in no time!

download on the app storeget it on google playdownload for android

4. AliPay

What is Alipay? And Why Do I Need It?

Alipay is a virtual wallet. All you have to do is link your Chinese bank card to the app, and your set! You can send and receive payments all from the comfort of your own home.


Alipay features include everything from topping up your phone, to bill payment, checking your bank account balance, purchasing tickets, bike rentals, ordering take out, requesting a taxi from DiDi, or you can even go shopping online and pay for your items using the same app. The possibilities are endless.

download on the app storeget it on google playdownload for android

5. Mobike / Hello Bike / ofo

Wanna be Green?

Mobike is the world’s first and largest bike sharing service that people can use for short distant rides within a city. You can use this app in over 200 cities around the world, not just in China.

There’s no shortage of bikes here in China, and they can be found everywhere and anywhere. They’re super easy to use too! All you have to do is download the app, and scan the code. The lock will open and then you can go riding for about 1 RMB per hour. Just be sure to manually lock the bike when you’re done.

download on the app storeget it on google playdownload for android


download on the app storedownload for android


download on the app storedownload for android

6. VPN

Should I Get a VPN?

VPN mean Virtual Private Network. VPN technology was developed to allow remote users and branch offices to securely access corporate applications and other resources. To ensure security, data would travel through secure tunnels and VPN users would use authentication methods – including passwords, tokens and other unique identification methods – to gain access to the VPN. In addition, Internet users may secure their transactions with a VPN, to circumvent geo-restrictions and censorship, or to connect to proxy servers to protect personal identity and location to stay anonymous on the Internet. However, some Internet sites block access to known VPN technology to prevent the circumvention of their geo-restrictions, and many VPN providers have been developing strategies to get around these roadblocks.

Our recommendation is for you to do your homework and get a VPN that works best for your needs and have it set up before you come to China.

7. Trip

Why Do I Need Trip?

Trip is an app that provides a one stop shop for all your travel needs while you’re in China. This app is available in 13 different languages, and offers 24/7 award winning customer service in English.

Wanna book something last minute? Or, are you planning your next vacation? Trip can help you with all your travel needs from booking train and plane tickets to finding that perfect hotel near the beach. Bookings are fast and simple.You can trust Trip, to take care of your next trip!

download on the app storeget it on google playdownload for android

8. PandaBoo

What’s PandaBoo?

PandaBoo is a online shopping site which helps you do online shopping in China. They have billions of products from different suppliers and marketplace, live chat support in English, you can pay with WeChat, Alipay and Paypal.  You can even copy paste Taobao Tmall product link into their search box and it will show information in English.

PandaBoo, will help you find everything and anything that you may be looking for; from all those products back home that you’ve been craving to the things that are simply just too hard to find. Their exceptional quality products on Super Mall and world class service will make this app your favorite for online shopping!

download on the app storeget it on google playdownload for android

NO.9 & NO.10

PandaBoo, has given you a list of 8 very useful, and popular English Apps to use whilst in China. Was there something that we left out? Is there an App that you use that you think should have made the list? Tell us what you think! We want to know! The winner with the most likes will receive 100 RMB Coupon to shop on PandaBoo. Good Luck!

Contest Rules:

1. Please click “Write a comment” at the bottom of this article and write your Apps idea.

2. The person with the most likes will be our contest winner!

3 . Contest ends at 10:00am on 3rd September 2018 and the winner will receive the 100RMB coupon within 24-48 hours.

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