7 Essential Apps to Get While In China For Business
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Traveling to a foreign country, whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned traveler, can be made a whole lot easier with the help of a few useful apps. In recent years, new apps have changed the game for travelers worldwide. Downloading these helpful apps onto your smartphone before arriving in China will undoubtedly improve your experience.
Whether you’re looking for translation tools or navigation tools, these 7 Apps to get while in China are definitely must-haves.
WeChat (Weixin, 微信) was developed by Tencent, a Chinese multinational conglomerate, and is the most popular messaging service used nationwide in China. This social tool makes staying in touch with your friends, family, and other contacts very easy.
WeChat will most likely be used by your Chinese business counterparts, so don’t be surprised if you get asked for your QR-code instead of your phone number. With WeChat, you can send text messages, voice notes, photos, voice or video calls, and even transfer files to people who are also on WeChat.
All of these features are available for free on the app, as long as you have 4G or an internet connection. It also allows you to send live locations, which can be very useful in case you get lost or need to find someone in a crowd.
WeChat is also essential for business in China, as you’re able to connect with business communities. You can quickly scan a supplier’s QR-code while at an exhibition or conference.
In addition to this, with the WeChat Wallet payment feature, you can freely pay for goods and services, taxi rides, restaurant bills, train and flight tickets and even transfer money to other users. The only requirement is having a Chinese bank account so you can link your bank card to the app.
This handy app might be the most useful of the must-have apps to get while in China. It’s available on iPhone and Android for free.
Read more tips on how to be successful using WeChat for your business in China.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Unfortunately, internet access in China is restricted and many sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Google are blocked due to China’s ‘Great Firewall’.
It’s understandable that doing business in China requires you have access to these various sites, therefore, it’s important you install a VPN onto your phone or computer before arriving in China. Don’t make the mistake of waiting to get a VPN until you’ve arrived in China because by then it’ll be too late!
A VPN allows you to bypass the Internet restrictions imposed by China by connecting your devices to a private server that goes around the online censorship. Even outside of China having a VPN can be very beneficial as it will prevent third parties from monitoring your internet browsing, tracking your IP, or (in the case of China) limiting your access to the internet.
There are a few great VPNs that function perfectly in China. We might recommend ExpressVPN or NordVPN, if you’re not sure where to start. It’s important to note that even with a VPN, the internet speed in China won’t be nearly as fast as what you’re used to in the West. Android phones are also particularly affected in China as most of their main functions are Google-driven.
Going to China soon? Read the essential travel tips and get ready for your business trip to China!
WayGo Visual Translator
If you’ve installed a VPN, Google Translate will do a great job of translating basic phrases. You can even download specific language packages (like Mandarin) before arriving, in case you ever find yourself without the internet.
However, if you’re interested in another option, WayGo is a clever app that works as a dictionary and allows you to translate signs or menus that are in Chinese directly to English by simply hovering your camera over the text.
This app is extremely useful for travelers who don’t have a basic understanding of the Chinese language. Even for travelers who have been to China before, this tool can also be of great help when you’re just not sure of how to say something or want to read a sign but have nobody to ask.
No translator is perfect. With a language as intricate as Chinese, even the best apps won’t be able to translate everything. Nevertheless, WayGo can recognize the majority of characters and can make daily tasks much easier for you. This award-winning app can be used while offline and is extremely effective and user friendly. It’s available on iPhone and Android for free.
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As you already know, using Google Maps in China will prove to be a challenge due to the country’s ‘Great Firewall’. OffMaps can be extremely useful for finding your bearings in a foreign country, like China!
The app includes two free maps and allows you to download city maps from anywhere in the world for only $0.99. This app is highly effective because it can be accessed while your data is turned off using the built-in GPS on your phone to track you in real time.
OffMaps allows you to track exactly where you are, which direction you’re facing and provides useful additional information such a roadmaps to ATMs and restaurants. The app also goes as far as to include restaurant recommendations and complete menus to help you decide which restaurant to have dinner in. Unfortunately, this app is only available on iPhone. Here is a link for free offline map apps for Android.
China Air Quality Index
Upon the first few days of your arrival in China, it’s possible to develop a cough. This is not the result of a cold, but often of the dense air pollution and smog that’s prevalent in China.
Pollution is a major issue in China and can affect one’s health negatively. You’ll notice that in China many citizens who navigate through the busy metropolitan areas wear face masks to protect themselves from pollution on particularly smoggy days.
Therefore it’s vital to check the Air Quality Index (AQI) before going about your daily business activities, in order to decide whether a mask is necessary for the day or not. The app provides real-time broadcasting information on China’s air quality index by pooling data from more than 1800 monitoring stations over 400 cities. This app is can definitely prove very useful while in China for preventing any threats to your health. This app is available on iPhone and Android for free.
Explore Metro Maps
If you’re traveling to bigger cities in China like Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou, the Explore Metro Maps app is one of the essential subway apps to get while in China. This very basic app allows you to search route planners, train times, and street maps, as well as the price of your trip.
Even though the subway lines are included in Google Maps, this app can make things a whole lot clearer and you don’t need to be online to use it. It’s available on both iPhone and Android.
If you’re looking for alternative methods of transport, you’ll be disappointed to hear that Uber doesn’t work in China. However, many frequent travelers find that hiring a private driver in China is the most reliable and convenient solution for their trip.
In China, the main restaurant review site comes with its own app. DianPing allows users to browse extensive listings of over 12 million local restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and accommodations for reviews, descriptions, and locations in China.
The app unfortunately doesn’t provide all reviews in English but it does provide the Chinese address, which makes it convenient for showing your driver where you want to go.
A great perk with this app is that it provides discounts and coupons which you can show to the waiter at the restaurant and you’ll instantly receive discounts that can save you quite a bit of money, especially if you’re traveling with a large group of people. It’s available on iPhone and Android.