Useful apps when in China.

Whether you are just visiting China, or planning to stay for a little longer, apps are extremely useful. Here are a list which I, and many other people in China use. They will make your stay in China that much more enjoyable. I use these apps through my iPhone, so you may have to check what other phone versions can use these apps.




Baidu is the Google/Yahoo/Bing of China. Many Chinese search through this search    engine. Unlike Google, you do not need a VPN to access Baidu.


*TIP: To listen to free music, type ‘baidu music’.



Baidu Maps

baidu maps         An extremely useful app for travelling with. This app allows you to search for a specific bus route where you would like to go. It will show you the bus routes, which buses to take, where they drop you and how long each route will take. It also shows you where in relation you are at that moment in time.  I’m pretty sure there are more functions on it but which I don’t ( and are unable to use)


*TIP: Get a Chinese person to help you out with the app at first. It is all in Chinese so get to know the basic layout and then you’re flying.


Google Translate

google translate      Before Google was blocked, this was very useful. To use it now however, a VPN is needed. Once you have this it is useful in translating long sentences rather than just words.




youku       Great for procrastinating, this app allows you to watch both TV series and films…. for Free! Yes, Chinese people are lucky enough to enjoy unlimited free music, TV series and films. Simple type in whatever series you want to watch, or look for the icon that shows movies ( a movie reel) where you can watch both Chinese and Western movies.

*TIP: On certain phone types, you can download a film or series to watch later, not needing an internet connection. Unfortunately I could not use this function on my phone.


Learn Chinese

LEARN CHINESE APP    I personally find this Chinese language learning app particularly useful. On it, it includes Greetings, General Conversation, Numbers, Time & Date, Directions & Place among other useful things. I decided to buy the whole app, which includes Countries, Family and Dating. It shows you the English and Chinese translation with a clear audio translation. You can also slow down the speech to help you more.

*TIP: This app is good for pronunciation, where you can listen and repeat and achieve more fluency and natural speaking.




MEMRISE     I’m sure anyone who has searched for Mandarin character learning is familiar with this app. The main purpose for this app is to teach  you the Mandarin characters, which are notoriously difficult. Beside each character, it shows you a picture relating to the character, making it easier to remember. Whats more, its free.

*TIP: This app can be used on your phone and also through a computer.


memrise man

How Memrise helps you relate the character to the meaning.


PLECO      For teaching or for learning Chinese, this app is brilliant. I use this for a lot of my classes. Basically a dictionary, it allows you find vocabulary in English and Chinese. To search for something in Chinese, simply type in the pinyin of the word and all the meanings appear with the Chinese character translation, with a listening element if needed. I personally don’t like this as the voice is computerised and the younger students do not understand it anyway. You can buy it for more functions, but the free version has everything I need.



wechat     Somewhat like MSN messanger, this app basically allows you to send messages to Chinese and Chinese expats. Almost everyone in China has a WeChat account, meaning it is a must if you decide to live in China. You can look at other peoples page, post pictures and statues on Moments. It also has a function where you can translate a message from Chinese into English. A must if you have Chinese friends that don’t speak English. You can also send a voice message, which the Chinese people I work with love doing.




So these are the apps that I use regularly and those that I feel worthy to write about. All are free, with additional add-ones if you want to pay.

I hope this post helped some people planning on visiting or moving to China.