Let me guess! You are currently using your cell phone to read this article. Am I right?
About 2 billion people use smartphones across the world, more than 50 % the users relying on them every day in every moment. After the invention of the smartphone, there comes the world of Apps (Application software). There are millions of apps now created and displayed in the app stores on Android/IOS. However, the apps you are familiar with are very different from those on offer in China. The app market is China is very special because of the Chinese government’s regulations and policies. It developed in a unique set of conditions resulting in a very different digital landscape.
For you to understand more about this unique internet society in China, here we have organized a top 10 list of the most popular Chinese apps:
WeChat（微信）:Much more than social media!
WeChat (known as WeiXin–micro letter– in China), was launched by Tencent in 2011, it is the most popular app in China with 762 million monthly active users and on average 570 million daily active users. Wechat functions much like a combination of Facebook and WhatsApp but the user behaviour is very different. WeChat offers its users much more than a social/messaging app. WeChat is focusing on building an integrated mobile lifestyle for its users which seeks to become prevelant in its users lives as much as possible.
Ex1: Official Accounts
WeChat serves not only individual users but also some official users ranging from banks, media outlets, hospitals, car manufactures and more. WeChat will review and approve these official account applications to excel the business service delivery. Do not bother to download other official apps, WeChat’s official accounts can handle it.
Ex2: WeChat Pay
WeChat is so powerful that it changes the currency exchange system in China. WeChat Pay is the amazing feature that allows people to transfer money online to any WeChat users within few seconds. There is no need to pull out your wallet/purse to get cash or credit card any more as you can access currency(e-money) in Wechat Pay which is linked to the users bank account.
QQ: Communication within your finger tips
You might not have heard about QQ, but in China QQ represents daily life. QQ is a instant messaging app that was launched by Tencent way back in 1999. It might be old, but QQ is still popular among the Chinese internet community with 877 million monthly active users. How popular is Tencent QQ? QQ, who mainly serve the Chinese market, is the first instant messaging Chinese company to get into Guinness World Records for having the largest (more than 210 million) number of simultaneous online users on 3rd July, 2014.
Baidu（手机百度）: Search engine premier in China
With more than 80% of the search engine market share in China, Baidu’s mobile search reached 667 million monthly active users in June 2016. Baidu is always trying to improve the user experience by providing new tools and services with new technology. For instance, Baidu has developed a wearable headset which is very similar to Google class. There are few other projects like open cloud, AI, and big data offering services that are expected to enhance the users’ searching experience on Baidu.
According to Baidu’s CEO, Baidu’s Duer (a voice-activated assistant) is designed to give recommendations and help make purchases online. This new assistant will greatly enrich the Baidu mobile users experience.
Weibo(微博): Chinese ‘s Facebook
Weibo, means micro-blog in Chinese, launched by Sina Corporation in August 2009. Weibo has 261 million monthly active users and 120 million daily active users. Sina Weibo implements many features that are very similar to Twitter, word limits per post, hashtags, follow/subscribe other users’ post and updates. It is one of the most popular social platforms among mobile internet users. It’s primary audience is mainly young and highly educated people who spend on average 25 hours per week online. See here for more information about weibo
A social platformAn app to connect with official accounts (celebrity/government/agencies/business/etc)
Alipay(支付宝)-Top E-commerce APP
Alipay is the world leading third party payment platform who devotes itself to providing the fastest, most secure, online, and mobile experience in all kinds of payment transaction from utility bills to a small restaurant transaction in a Chinese traditional market. And it is all FREE! Alipay’ registered users contributed on average 80 million transactions per day which is over 45% of total daily payment in China presided over by the Alibaba Group.
Taobao(淘宝）:The Store for Everything
As China ‘s largest online shopping destination, Taobao is not only serving buyers in China but also sellers who are mainly entrepreneurs and small businesses. The secret to Taobao’s success is its understanding of the Chinese shoppers’ mindset and the way they conduct transactions. Taobao provides an ubiquitous online-shopping platform that generates $449 billion yuan gross merchandise volume with 4.3 billion packages delivered per annum. According to Bloomberg, Mckinsey Global Institute predicts that China’s total e-commerce market could be worth $650 billion by 2020.
360 Mobile Security ( 360手机卫士):
Protect your smartphone, protect your life!
360 Mobile Security is a program specially designed to manage mobile security on the Android system. Mobile phones in our time are different, they now cover many aspects of users’ lives which people can not live without it. That is the reason why mobile security becomes very crucial for all mobile users as it helps owners stop computer viruses or malware, it helps owners clean up mobile storage, and monitor all kinds of risks for mobile applications.
Youku(优酷): Chinese YouTube
Similar to YouTube, Youku allows users to upload videos with no limitation on length. To enhance its operation, Youku has partnered with over 1500 license holders such as TV stations, distributors, TV production companies and more in China to create original content. With significant connections and sources, Youku is able to provide its users with a plethora of TV programs/videos/movies/displays/dramas/ animation/ entertainment in its vast digital library, it is the biggest online video media source in China.
Sogou Mobile Input (搜狗拼音输入法)
Sogou Pinyin Method is the most popular Chinese Pinyin input method editor developed by Sogou.com. With a versatile input method, massive thesaurus and intelligent prediction, it provides a smooth and efficient experience, Sogou Pinyin is providing hundreds of millions of users with higher quality experience than competitors offer.
It’s user friendly functions make Sogou mobile input so popular on all the app stores on the Android/IOS system.
UC Browser (UC浏览器）
UCBroswer, is now one of the most popular third-party mobile browsers with an 11.1% mobile page review market share worldwide made by China’s UCWeb (fully owned by Alibaba). The growth of the UC browser mainly comes from China and India, where it holds the top position in both countries. Based on recent research, the UC browser saves up to 79% more data than the Chrome and Firefox when 1G of web pages were loaded. In China, users often search for novels, news, video clips, and movies.