Now that you’re in China, just try to get on your favourite western apps. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat, .. right ? You can’t. Right ?

How can you keep in touch with your friends ?

Welcome to China’s social networking apps ! These apps are numerous in the Middle Empire. Here’s a review of the most popular ones.

QQ – Keeping in touch easily

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©nipic.com

Compatibility: Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows phone.

Price: Free.

QQ is an online messaging service with a huge user base. It offers you chats, audio/video call services, photos, file-sending, .. The QQ app allows English-speaking users to update their own blog articles onto the Qzone blog site, which is only one of the few blogging services based in China to have an english interface. In your app store, there is even a non-chinese version of the app wich supports 19 different languages.

Along with the chat, QQ includes e-mails, micro-blogging, online shopping, video games and more. These different services become accessible once you log in your QQ account. The QQ messenger service is not only available on cellphone, PCs have it too.

WeChat (aka 微信, Weixin) – Best to expand your friendships !

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©easck.com

Compatibility: Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows phone, PC

Price: Free.

WeChat, also known as Weixin in Chinese, is the most popular app in China, with more than 300 million registered users in the country, and more than 600 millions around the world. In China, you can’t have a chat with someone without being asked in a short lapse of time « Do you have WeChat ? ».

With WeChat, you can do one-to-one texting or send messages to groups. You can send text, photos (live photos or saved images from your phone), video, audio. You can also video/audio call your friends in real-time. The « Moments » function can be compared to Facebook’s actuality feed, where you can share images, text, sound, videos, but you can also post links to other websites.

You can register to WeChat in many ways, such as using your phone number, QQ acount number, ..

Read: Wechat, a new Chinese empire ?

Momo (陌陌) – Great app to meet strangers

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©app.92y.com

Compatibility: Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows phone.

Price: Free.

Momo is a location-based app which will allow strangers to connect to each other quickly. Strangers will get in contact rapidly and easily. It’s a great way to meet locals if you just arrived in town. In some ways, it is similar to Tinder, which is famous in western countries, even if it is much less based on rating and picking up strangers.

Though it still gets the reputation of being an app for « one-night stands ».. Momo’s owners have been spending a lot of money to try and reverse this bad reputation, by saying that it allows users to build any type of relation they want. There should be an english-language version of it released soon.

Sina Weibo (微博) – Your new hot gossip app

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Compatibility: Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows phone.

Price: Free.

Weibo stands for the chinese Twitter (140 characters max messages, sharing photos, videos, audio, text..). But it is not a brand as such : Many Weibo websites compete between each others.

Sina Weibo is the most famous among them all. It claims about 57% of all Weibo users in the Middle Empire. By the end of 2012, its population of registered accounts had reached more than 500 million, of which more than 45 million were active and posting over 100 million messages per day.

In a similar way than Twitter, many celebrities, influential figures and organizations, use it to get more followers, to promote themselves and chat directly with their fans and followers. There are even some government offices posting official notices with their Sina Weibo accounts.

An english language option is available in the settings, but it will only work for the operating interface, so messages won’t be translated.

Though, many worldwide celebrities are posting in english on Weibo.

Baidu BBS (百度贴吧) – Perfect for productive discussions

Compatibility: Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows phone.

Price: Free.

Baidu BBS is a platform allowing people to interact between them. If users share the same interests, then they can discuss about these topics with others. Baidu BBS has more than 60 million users and 8 million posts. Even if most of its content is in chinese, you will certainly find many topics that will interest you. Then, you’ll be able to start some productive and interesting conversations with other users.

Zhihu (知乎) – A proper app to learn new things

Compatibility: Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows phone.

Price: Free.

Zhihu is a Q&A community which is very similar to Quora, and english language website. Users may raise or answer different questions about many different topics. Whether they are funny, informative, instructive, these topics are very diversified. Users can look up questions they want to know, or follow some other users to be able to see what they will ask and answer. They can also quote someone to answer a question so they know what are their thoughts about the topic. You may notice that Zhihu is only available in chinese language.

Douban Xiaozu (豆瓣小组) – Best for finding like-minded folks

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©app111.com

Compatibility: Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows phone.

Price: Free.

In the same way as Baidu BBS, Douban Xiaozu is a forum : there, users can integrate groups fitting their interests the most and create or discuss about some important topics to their eyes. Again, this is only a chinese-language app. It shows up the posts and threads which suit your finests interests. Therefore, you’ll be mostly chatting with people similar to you, and you will talk about topics that you all really enjoy.

Weishi (微视) – Optimum for sharing video

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©android.crsky.com

Compatibility: Android, iPad, iPhone.

Price: Free.

Weishi is similar in some ways to the Western Vine app. It is a video application including some social network features, which allows the users to share some eight-second videos with their friends, but also with strangers. In the same way than Vine, the video will keep restarting when it ends. When you follow other users of Weishi, you are able to see their video feeds and hit the like button if you enjoy it enough. Again, there is only a chinese edition of this app, but the interface is simple to operate, so some may be able to overstep this barrier.

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