my life in Beijing very dependent on my smartphone. Because of that I would like to list some Apps which are helpful in dail life.
WeChat was one of
the most important Apps during my stay in Beijing. It is useful for a lot of
You can connect it with your
bank account and pay in shops or even at small stalls on the street via this
App. You can transfer money to friends and split bills in restaurants by using
WeChat. In my opinion it is very convenient. If you pay by cash you should be
aware, that there is circulating false money in Beijing
WeChat is also the most common
App in Beijing and other places in China I have visited, to stay in contact
with friends and teachers. The function for sending messages to different
people is a lot like WhatsApp. WhatsApp is banned in China, so you can just use
it by using a Virtual Private Network.
In Germany I am used to
communicate via E-Mail or Online portals with my teachers. But at BFSU, WeChat
was the most common channel for communication. We had a WeChat group for each
class. PowerPoint slides and important information were all sent via WeChat.
Travel and other:
WeChat is also used for many
other things. You can book flights, hotels and trains, which is often cheaper
than booking it on a different Website. It can also be used to order taxis,
rent bikes, book movie tickets etc.
It can also help you a lot in engaging at BFSU and in Beijing. There are
several groups you can join, to find events, happening in Beijing or to find a
language partner. Other groups you can join in the App, offer short trips
around Beijing or longer travels.
In Beijing many people do not own a bike but rent them
to reach their destination. There are different companies, which provide the
service of shared bikes. The bikes which are used most are yellow bikes, which
are offered by “Ofo”. They do not have central spots where you can rent and
return them, but they can be found all around the city, standing next to the
street. The App shows you where you can find a bike close to you. By scanning a
QR-code, you can unlock a bike, use it and just lock it again when you do not
want to use it any more, no matter where you are. In the App you press a button
to tell that you finished your travel and you pay by using your phone. The costs
are about one yuan per kilometer. It is not allowed to use shared bikes on
campus at BFSU.
The following website shows how to use “Ofo” and “Mobike”, which offeres shared
bikes too: https://www.careerchina.com/blog/bike-sharing-in-china
Didi is the App which is used most for ordering taxis.
It has an English version which is very convenient if you do not know Chinese.
Didi is connected to WeChat. If you order a taxi via Didi, you can see how long
you need to wait for it and what ratings your driver got from previous clients.
The following website explains how to use Didi: https://www.careerchina.com/blog/how-to-get-taxi-in-china-in-english-didi-app
As Google is banned in China, you can use Goolge Maps
just by using a Virtual Private Network. Anyway the information in Google Maps
are often not up to date like bus lines or arriving times of public transport.
Because of that I suggest you to download Amaps. It is just possible to use it
in Chinese language, but you can often copy the Chinese name of places on the
internet and copy it to the App. After using it for a while I got used to it,
even if I did not now Chinese before going to Beijing.
Explore Beijing subway map:
I often used this App to have a look, how to reach a
certain place by subway. It shows an overview of all subway lines in Beijing,
and the arriving and depature times. You can have a look for certain routes or
have a look at only one line at a time. You can also get tips from other users
abou the surrounding of the subway stations. For example if there is a good
restaurant close to the it.
I experienced, that many people in Beijing order food
to their places. Eleme is one of the Apps, you can order food with. It is all
in Chinese, but handling it is very intuitive in my opinion.
This App is similar to Groupon, (if that is a common App to you). You can book
activities via that App e.g. visits for the cinema, climbing etc. and get a
discount by booking it via Dianping.