Indispensible Chinese Apps: WeChat, Dianping, Sogou, JD.com …

Found my phone! (Stuck on the couch with a sleeping baby.)

Found my phone! (Stuck on the couch with a sleeping baby.)

Well I just misplaced my iphone and turned my apartment upside down looking for it. My phone is virtually attached to my body, but somehow it went missing and the panic that ensued now seems pretty ridiculous. But really everything I need is on it. Anyway, I found the phone and noticed an email notifying me of a new comment on this blog. I replied to the comment but then seeing the front page reminded me that I haven’t posted here in ages and it’s hopelessly out of date. My tag for “social media” hardly makes sense. There’s still no facebook or twitter here behind the Great Firewall, but there is a rich life of apps that are China-specific. There are almost too many to mention.

  • WeChat (微信 Weixin) is your group chat, your newsletters from businesses, your facebookesque wall to share links/photos with friends, and it is your virtual wallet. This last feature is crazy cool. Of course it can do as you might expect — payments for online purchases, but I just used my phone to buy a milkshake yesterday! You bring up a barcode on your phone and the shop scans and processes it like a credit card payment. You get an instant confirmation message on WeChat. Also, it was a 59 RMB milkshake which makes it a stupid purchase.
  • Dianping is your Yelp but also insanely good for coupons and can do delivery. They take WeChat payments.
  • Sogou is your Google maps, because Google is fucked here. If you try to rely on Google maps the coordinates are always off just enough to be totally confusing. And that’s only if you get Google to load. Most Google products are all strangled by the GFW.
  • JD.com is maybe not as big as Taobao but it works better for me. It takes WeChat payments (woohoo!) but also has vendors that will accept cash on delivery! And some products if ordered before 11am will arrive THE SAME DAY. Crazy.

So anyway I’m sure I was looking for my phone to use one of these apps. But now I’ve forgotten what I was doing…