It’s on ! You’ve made your choice ! You’re going to China and the departure is imminent. You probably thought of everything: the flight, the insurance, the hotel, the metro etc. However if you want to survive in China, your smartphone is going to be your best friend! You will need to download a few very useful apps!

#1 App: WeChat

WeChat - Xavier Forero

Stop Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and others like Tinder in China, you will only need WeChat! You want to talk to your friends, send a file, order a taxi, pay your phone bill, book a night in a hotel, share photos or videos with all your contacts or even make your apartment cleaned up WeChat! It’s the most famous app in China and super simple of usage! The only downside is that you need a Chinese phone number. In addition to that a Chinese bank account to have access to any of the services related with money or payments.

#2 App: Translator

Other very useful apps when you land in China and the only word you know is “ni hao”: translation app’s. There are tons of them, but I suggest you “Translator”. Very simple of usage, you can choose from a large variety of languages including French. You can either write the word that you want to translate either say it through the Dictaphone.

You can engage a conversation with someone in order for each one of you to translate what the other want to say. Last but not least, we can take a photo of the Chinese characters to be translated! And to be honest, when you are at the restaurant with a Chinese card where you can’t understand anything, it’s very convenient!

#3 App: VPN

Despite everything, if you still miss the life of your friends “without WeChat” and you feel an irrepressible need to connect to Facebook, you will have to get a VPN. Some of them are free and others you will have to pay. We will present you one of each:

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is super simple to use and the connection is totally secured. It allows you to access servers from anywhere of the world. This means that you can use Google, Facebook, Skype, Youtube, Netflix and much more! The only negative point is that you will have to pay for it. A little bit less than a 100 euros for one-year subscription. However it worth the shot since the servers are super-fast to connect to. Moreover, the time of connection is unlimited and you can even use three different devices at same time! What is seducing, is that you have 30 days trial and get reimbursed if you are not satisfied.

ExpressVPN - Xavier Forero

Betternet

Betternet - Xavier Forero

As said previously if you want to have access to any of the blocked social networks, search engines or websites you will need a VPN. We decide to talk about this app because it’s free. However, remember that you are part of the Digital era and that nothing is free. Obviously they are taking most of your data you can be sure of it! However our data is taken from everywhere. So, if you are kind of addicted to what is free or you just don’t want to pay to get a VPN, you should take Betternet it works very well.

Of course sometimes you will have small advertisements, but you can get a premium version to get rid of it. In addition to that you will be able to change the location of the server you want to connect. The only problem of this app is that it’s only available for mobiles and tablets!

#4 App: Baidu Map

Baidu Map - Xavier Forero

Baidu Map is the same as Google Map, but in Chinese! Maybe you don’t see why you should get it as you may think that you already have what you need for guidance, but the answer is quite simple. First of all, you need to use a VPN for Google Map and the one that you already have in your phone does not locate you well, that’s a fact! What is nice from Baidu Map is that you can write in English in the search bar. Most of the restaurant, bars, museums, shops and groceries are easy to find thanks to this.

Imagine, you want to cook something at your place, but you don’t know where to find a kind of European grocery close to your where you live. It’s very easy, just search in Baidu Map “Carrefour” or “Tesco” and you will see the closest shops. It is also very useful to have for the taxi because they can read the address in Chinese. It does work as GPS so if you are planning to use a bike or buy a scooter just go for it! The app will basically help you for any travel you will make in China.

#5 App: SmartShanghai

When we arrived in Shanghai one of the first things foreigner’s advised us to download is SmartShanghai. This app is basically a kind of TimeOut but only for what’s happening in the city. You have a news feed with some interesting information about Shanghai. Moreover, if you want to go out to have drinks or dinner you should get it right now. In addition to that you can be aware of the different event in the night clubs of Shanghai!

SmartShanghai is really a must have because the app is in English and very easy to handle. You can find the addresses of the places you want to go and have them in Chinese. What is really nice, is that you also get some description of the location.

In addition to that the average price and even the nearest metro station. In a few words if you want to discover more about Shanghai and be aware of the good deals in the city that’s the app you need.

Moreover, SmartShangai also allows you to buy tickets for shows, concerts, music festivals and many more. If you want to look like the pro of Shanghai you know want to do! And last but not least you can find your apartment in Shanghai, that’s actually how most of us managed to find a good place to live!