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Adding an International Bank Card to WeChat Wallet

I’m sure you’ve all heard of WeChat and have managed to set up your account, however for many of you it may have ended there. Finally, after years of feeling left out of the loop, us Wai Guo Ren can saunter up to a till point and nonchalantly wave our phones at the cashier. Has anything been more thrilling than this?!
Tencent announced today that it will be accepting international bank cards as payment through WeChat wallet, meaning you no longer have to go through the hassle of opening a Chinese Bank account. This guide will help you to achieve your dreams of scanning and paying!

A Step By Step Guide

Step 1

Select the “Me” icon from the bottom menu in WeChat and then select the “Wallet” option.

WeChat Wallet Step 1

Step 2

Select “Cards” from the top menu.

WeChat Wallet Step 2

Step 3

This screen may be different for some of you but essentially you want to select “Add a new card.”

WeChat Wallet Step 3

Step 4

With this being China, you can either snap a quick pic of your card or manually enter your card number.

WeChat Wallet Step 4

Step 5

After this select your bank card. If your bank doesn’t appear go ahead and select Visa or Mastercard (whichever one is applicable) and then credit card (even if it’s a debit.)

WeChat Wallet Step 5

Step 6

You will then be asked to enter all you personal details in the following menu.

WeChat Wallet Step 6

If your region is not shown, enter your closest city, and for your phone number it’s up to you whether you use your international or Chinese number!

After entering these details your card should be connected to your WeChat!

In some cases this doesn’t allow you to transfer money from your bank account to WeChat or pay with you bank card. However it does allow you to receive money from others, so I’m sure you can ask your Chinese friends to help out if you give them some cash! Then they can transfer you the equivalent value so it’s available for you to use on WeChat!

For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.

Be sure to follow our social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

All You Need to Know, Before your stay, How-to Guides, Travel

Getting Ready for China: Setting up Your WeChat Account

Ever wondered how to use the famous WeChat? Here’s a handy guide to turn you from no to pro.

A Little Introduction

WeChat is the biggest social media platform in China, with over 963 million monthly users. It is primarily an instant messaging app however there are many more features than just instant messaging. WeChat or Wēi Xìn is the bread and butter of daily life in China and an essential part of your stay. You’ll need it to speak to friends, contact colleagues and even buy your coffee with it!

Image of the WeChat logo on a PC screen

Getting Started with WeChat

It’s actually really easy to set up a WeChat account. The process is very similar to Whatsapp, in that you need to download the WeChat app from the app store (iTunes, Google Play etc.) and create an account using your phone number.

Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to set up WeChat on your phone:

  1. Download the app.
  2. Once downloaded, open the app and click “sign up”
  3. Type your number into the field and click sign up, be sure to choose the right area code, e.g UK, USA etc.
  4. WeChat will send a verification code to the chosen number: go into messages, find the verification code and enter it into the “Code” field.
  5. Once confirmed, type in your name and finish creating your account.
  6. After this you’re good to go!

 

 Opening your Keyboard

To start a text chat, open your keyboard just like in WhatsApp or SMS. Tap the space beside the speaker icon and your keyboard becomes accessible!

 Adding Friends

Now that your account is ready to go it’s time to start making friends. Adding people on WeChat is quick and easy, so it’s great for networking or if you’re on the go.

You can add friends a few ways. The first is to search for their username or phone number, and the second is to scan their personalised QR code.

Adding Contacts by Username & Phone Number

  1. Click the ” + ” icon at the top right hand of your home screen.
  2. Click the space beside the search icon which says “WeChat ID/ Phone.”
  3. Type the username/ phone number into the space saying “WeChat ID/ Phone.”
  4. When you type in the username, click on the green search button that appears.
  5. Their contact card will appear on your screen. Click “Add”
  6. You’re now connected!

Adding Contacts with a QR Code 

  1. Click the + icon at the top right hand of your home screen.
  2. Select “Add Contacts” then “Scan QR Code”
  3. Ask your friend to show you their “Profile QR code”.
  4. Point your phone camera at the code to scan it.
  5. Their contact card will appear on your screen. Click “Add”
  6. Congrats! You’ve just added your first contact!

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Lettings Others Add You 

Others can add you by your username, the phone number associated with your account or by scanning your personalised QR code.

To access your personal QR code, go to the “Me” page in WeChat, click on either your profile picture or the QR code beside your username, and open your QR code!

Making a Group Chat

To make a group chat in WeChat, simply go to the ” + ” symbol in the top right of your screen, and then select the “Group Chat” option. Then, add your contacts!

 

Following Official Accounts

Groups are a big part of how people communicate via WeChat and we regularly use them to post updates about IC activities. To keep up to date with weekly dinners, trips and the latest news be sure to follow the official InternChina subscription accounts and join the group chats.

You can join the subscription accounts the same way you add contacts- simply choose “Official Accounts” in the menu, and then search for the account you want to follow! You can type in “IC” and this will bring up all the InternChina city accounts.

How to Communicate

In WeChat, you can text, send voice messages, make phone calls and make video calls (similar to Skype.)

Sending a Voice Message

To send a voice message, click on the speaker icon beside your keyboard. Then, press the “hold to talk” button, and continue holding this until you are finished speaking. Then simply release and your message is sent! To cancel a message, just drag and release your finger.

Video Calling

You will most likely use a WeChat video call for your interview with your host company, so it’s important you know how to make one!

  1. Open the right conversation- either an existing chat with the contact, or open a new chat by finding the contact in your contacts list.
  2. Open the chat menu by pressing the ” + ” button at the bottom of your conversation screen.
  3. Select the option for a video call.
  4. You’re ready to go!

The same method applies to starting a voice call.

 

Once you have your WeChat set up you are ready to start life in China! Check out our video on how to use WeChat to sign up to IC activities and follow our official account.

 

 

Cultural, Qingdao Blogs, Understanding Chinese culture

First time in Qingdao as a Muslim

Written by Tanvir Ahmed
My first couple of weeks…they’ve been somewhere between an adventure and a culture shock. Not so much because I’m unaware of the differences between the eastern and western culture (my roots are in Pakistan and things there are similar) but more due to me overestimating how developed China would be. I must give credit to InternChina however, as they made adapting to this beautiful country, an easy process and believe me I’m not an easy person to please :). They provided a Chinese sim card (other carriers WILL NOT work), a POI map, pots, pans, utensils, taxi ride from the airport, guidance and a whole load of help plus anything else I could think of.

picture1

This map gave me more information than a tour guide…maybe because I don’t speak Chinese 😛

Eating

As a Muslim, I had to find halal places to eat and I must say food here is amazing! Something in particular is Lanzhou Lamian. A style of cooking that originated from a mainly Muslim region of China. I’m yet to find an area where there is not one of these. Being a ‘food-aholic’ I have tried many of the dishes in these little gems and for the majority of them, I get confused as to which I’d prefer today. The best thing is that the food places all have pictures of their dishes, so like me, you can just point at whichever rumbles your tumble.picture2

Ever tried a waffle in a cone? Available in an area called Taidong.

picture3

I was keen to show off my chopstick skills on snapchat 😀

Communicating

The language is not a problem in a city like Shanghai, but for me in Qingdao it means I have to remain optimistic and be creative in getting my message across. I have some knowledge of Mandarin, but it can still be a task to just ask for directions or in ordering a dish. I would certainly recommend learning at least the basics sentences in Mandarin because hardly anyone speaks English. For those more complex scenarios (in my case, how to say I only eat halal), having the InternChina on hand is like is like the ace up the sleeve. Always available (within reason) and respond straight away with whatever you need to know.

picture4

This little book works a charm for me. It has pretty much everything you’ll need and it costs about a £1 on Amazon…No brainer!

Praying

I took a trip to the mosque last Friday for an important prayer. Something which really took me by surprise was a young man who realised I needed to get to the mosque and as he was going there, he happily offered me a ride. Anywhere else I would have probably turned around and walked but one thing you will realise in China is the concept of giving and losing face is more important than anything. The Chinese make a huge effort in showing the utmost respect to others. Being a foreigner here is like being a celebrity; you’ll have random people literally asking to take a selfie with you and when you ask them for help they will literally go out of their way to do what they can. On the flip side, some people just don’t have a clue what you are asking but they’ll still try their best to help you…Not sure how that’s meant to work.

The pictures do no justice to the beautiful location where the mosque is situated. I’m going back just to explore the mountain area next time.

Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, How-to Guides, Understanding Chinese culture

How to Verhandeln in China

Gibst du auch immer zu viel Geld für Souvenirs, Schmuck und Kleidung auf chinesischen Märkten aus?
tumblr_mak6ktggka1ru90dzo1_250

Du bist frustriert und weißt einfach nicht mehr weiter? Dann bist du hier genau richtig! In der heutigen Ausgabe von Surviving Tipps von Bea Grylls erfährst du, wie auch DU in nur 4 einfachen Schritten zum Verhandlungsprofi wirst!

Schritt 1: Chinesisch lernen

Aus eigener Erfahrung kann ich sagen, dass es hilfreich ist, in China einige Sätze chinesisch zu sprechen. Die wichtigsten Phrasen und Sätze, die ihr zum verhandeln benötigt, sind folgende:

  1. Nǐhǎo (你好)!
    Hallo! (Wir wollen ja nicht unhöflich sein)
  1. (Zhè gè) duōshao qián? (这个多少钱?)
    Wie viel kostet (das da)? (Profi-Tipp: hierbei ist es hilfreich, auf das Objekt eurer Begierde zu zeigen)
  2. Tài guì le! (太贵了)
    Vieeel zu teuer! (Wenn ihr das sagt, solltet ihr ungefähr so schauen, als hätte der Verkäufer gerade eure Mutter beleidigt)

giphy-1

 

  1. Piányi diǎn? (便宜 点)
    Geht es auch etwas günstiger?
  2. die Zahlen von 1-1000
    (siehe Google)
  3. Zàijiàn! (再见!)
    Tschüss!

 

Schritt 2: Vorausschauende Planung

Überlegt euch, welchen Preis ihr maximal zahlen wollt. Nennt nicht zuerst euren Maximalpreis -fangt klein an und steigert euch dann langsam. Habt ihr euch dann schließlich mit den Verkäufern auf einen Preis geeinigt, solltet ihr nicht versuchen, den Preis noch weiter zu senken!

Schritt 3: Drama, baby!

Wenn die chinesischen Verkäufer eins können, dann Schauspielern. 350 RMB sind euch zu teuer für ein traumhaftes Teeset aus „echtem“ Porzellan? Bitte was?! Aber keine Sorge: es ist nur Show. In China ist es nicht unüblich, zu verhandeln. Daher lautet die Devise: Drama! 350 RMB? FRECHHEIT! Ich zahle maximal 30! Wie bitte? 300 RMB?! Ich glaub mein Schwein pfeift!

Schritt 4: DRAMA!!

Der Verkäufer ist stur und lässt sich nicht auf euren Preis ein? Verlasst den Laden, im besten Fall mit einem dramatischen Abgang. In 99% der Fälle ist der Verkäufer dann bereit, auf euren Preis einzugehen. Für das ultimative Schnäppchen verlasst den Laden einfach 2 mal. Erfolgschance (fast) garantiert!

Wenn ihr alle Schritte befolgt, kann gar nicht mehr so viel schiefgehen. Viel Spaß beim Verhandeln und Zàijiàn!

Chengdu Blogs, Cultural, How-to Guides, Learn about China, Understanding Chinese culture

My Experience of China’s Hard Sleeper Trains

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 10.46.27 AM
When it comes to public transport in China, you have so many options! But for those of you who want to travel long distances in comfort and for a budget, the Hard Sleeper Train offers you the best of both.

Buying Tickets

You can buy tickets for these trains two ways: firstly going to any train station (not tube station) and buying them over the counter. If you are a foreigner in China you will need to bring your passport along with you, and find the ticket office. If your Chinese isn’t too great though, I would suggest booking your tickets through CTrip, allowing you to pre book tickets for trains, flights and even hotels! CTrip is perfect for foreigners buying train tickets in China, as it makes both booking and picking up tickets super easy! Once you have paid for your tickets, CTrip will email you both a booking reference and a ticket pick up number. You can give the ticket pick up number to the pick up desk in the train station, along with your passport, no need to speak any Chinese at all. Or for those of you who want to practice your Chinese, simply say 我要取票 (Wo Yao Qu Piao).

Depending on which train station you go to, you will want to arrive about 1 hour early, to ensure you can find the ticket office and platform waiting area. Some train stations will be massive and have very long queues, so allowing yourself this extra time is essential to avoid missing your train. However, if you have bought your tickets in advance (and collected them) then about half an hour should be enough time.

Remember: Tickets for traiens come out two months before they leave, so if you are planning a long journey, or including several people you will want to book in advance in order to ensure there are enough tickets.

Boarding

Once you’ve picked up your tickets you will need to find your boarding gate. Chinese train stations work more like airports than western stations, so you will not be able to wait on the platform for your train. On your ticket will be a few letters and numbers, for example K564. Throughout the train station you will see electronic notice boards which give all train information. You must match up your train number to the Boarding Gate, last time mine was A1/2, B1/2, and there you can wait until it is time for your train to board.

After this, you will know when your train is boarding because everyone will get up and crowd around the platform entrance- you must use your ticket to get through these gates. On your ticket, both your carriage number and seat number/position will be printed. The first number will be for your carriage and look similar to this: 7车, with your seat number and position as follows: 3下 (Bottom bed, no.3) 3中 (Middle bed, no.3) and 3上 (Top bed no.3).

Source: (http://www.topchinatravel.com/pic/customer-center/china-travel-tips-and-faqs/transportation-in-china/china-train-hard-sleeper-02.jpg)
Source: (http://www.topchinatravel.com/pic/customer-center/china-travel-tips-and-faqs/transportation-in-china/china-train-hard-sleeper-02.jpg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seats/Beds

Each carriage consists of about 10 compartments, each including 6 beds. Passengers can also sit on small seats with tables at the end of each compartment, if you are not ready to climb into bed yet. By far the Bottom beds are the most desirable, giving both extra head room, and the use of a table. For both Middle and Top beds, there will be a ladder at the end of each set of beds which you can use to climb up. The Middle bed is the second best option, as it is less effort to reach than the Top bed, provides slightly more head room and allows you to look out of the window.

Once you have boarded the train, an attendant will come around and check your tickets, making sure you are in the right bed. They will swap your ticket for a boarding pass, and then swap it back at the end. This process both adds security to your journey and ensures you will be awake for your stop, as attendants will swap your ticket back to you about half an hour before your train arrives.

The beds themselves are small, but large enough to fit an average person inside them comfortably, for all the tall people out there, you may not be able to fit your feet on the bed. Each bed comes with a pillow, bag hook and duvet. Each mattress is no comfier than your standard Chinese mattress, but for one journey is perfectly acceptable. All carriages are air conned.

Facilities

  • air con
  • ‘smoking area’ -actually just a small ash tray stuck on the wall in between carriages
  • toilets- no toilet roll
  • hot water facilities
  • food/drink cart- including noodle pots, and soft drinks then a variety of strange Chinese snacks
  • no wifi
  • plugs- there are about 4 plugs in each carriage, which passengers are free to use as they wish, most of these are very poor quality though and my adaptor didn’t work in them (i tried all 4)
  • music- each train has a train attendant which will play random music through a loudspeaker on the train, although this is not played at a loud volume it will continue throughout the night

Negatives

The toilets on the train are all traditional squatter ones, which would be fine if they were cleaned regularly. As they aren’t cleaned at all, you will notice the smell gradually grows and starts to spread throughout the carriages.

On one of our trains, at about 9/10 o’clock a man came round trying to sell overly expensive sweats to passengers, he continued to shout about his product for about half an hour.

There is no toilet roll on the train, and i didn’t see anywhere to buy it once i was one, so make sure you’re prepared.

Unlike normal trains in China, these ones didn’t sell coffee pots.

 

Overall i would say the Hard Sleeper Train is about a 6/10, whilst it is not the most comfortable journey of your life, for the average traveller trying to not spend too much it is the perfect way to get around.

Cultural, Food, How-to Guides

TWO WOKKY DISHES FOR YOU TO COOK IN CHINA

So I’ve been roped into writing another blog. Last time I was writing about wacky shrimp-charmers and typical Chinese benevolence but I’m toning it all down a bit in an attempt to brandish my questionable cooking talent. However, do not fear these recipes, for they have earned critical acclaim from seasoned pundits such as my ex-flatmate and anosmic sausage-dog. What’s more is that I present an opportunity to make friends with your local veg-stall owner. Just visit every day and say ‘shēng yì xīng lóng’ after you’ve paid and you’ll be friends for life.
Perhaps I should stop flaunting my credentials get on with what you came here for.

Dish One – Egg Fried Rice

‘It sounds boring!’ I hear you cry. “It’s too easy!” you moan. Pfft. Don’t you remember the social sec from that questionable university rugby club telling you not to knock something until you’ve tried it?

egg fried rice
Egg Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • Egg, obviously. You’re going to need 2-5 of these, depending on how much you hit the gym.
  • Rice. Try to scale this with the number of eggs you’ve used.
  • Some kind of oil to grease your wok. I use peanut oil because it’s the cheapest.
  • Vegetables. Normally I go with a solitary carrot because I’m boring, but you should try adding broccoli, pak choi or cauliflower. If you’re feeling really adventurous then add all four.
  • Soy sauce, obviously. This is China after all.
  • Sesame oil. This is the secret ingredient that sets apart the Jamie Olivers from the normal Olivers.

Method

Start by getting your rice cooker on the go. While she’s doing the hard work for you, chop up your vegetables into little chunks and crack open your eggs into a small bowl. Then, fry the veg in your wok on a medium/high heat in some oil.

Once those seedless fruits are looking nice and cooked turn down the heat to low/medium and throw in the eggs. Be sure to give them a good whacking with a wooden spoon. Beat them until it looks like that scene from Team America when the hero-guy comes out of the pub.

Now you need to add in the rice. Make sure that it isn’t all mushy with water then throw it into the wok. Pour some soy sauce over it and stir it in. Usually you’ll need about 10-20mL of soy sauce, but you’ll soon work out how strong you like your flavours. Finally, pour some sesame oil into the wok and mix that in too. About 3-5mL is all you need.

And voila! That took about 15 minutes.

Dish Two – Chicken Stir Fry

This is my signature dish in China. My old housemates back home in England know how proud I was of my first bhuna and others find my bolognese irresistible. However, China isn’t fond of curry and you’ll pay a lot of money to cook yourself a proper bolognese so I’ll try to keep on topic.

chicken
InternChina – Chicken Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • Chicken. Cluck cluck.
  • Rice or noodles. This is a great opportunity because you can disguise this single recipe as two by using either carbohydrate base.
  • Carrots. Feel free to add other vegetables but the carrots are the best thing about this dish.
  • Ginger. You’ll need about 5cm of this, maybe more. Who knows? You’ll find out how much you like soon enough.
  • Garlic. While we’re on the subject, anyone reading who hasn’t been to China might be interested to know that the Chinese like to munch on whole garlic cloves. You’ll need about three for this dish.
  • Soy sauce. You’ll work out how much you need.
  • Oil. Again, I use peanut oil because it’s the cheapest.
  • Honey (not essential).
  • Peanut butter (not essential).
  • Peanuts (not essential).

Method

Choose if you want rice or noodles. Prepare them but wait until later to cook.

Slice and dice your chicken and slap it into a moderately oiled wok. You don’t want to turn on the heat yet unless you like your chicken black. Wash your chopping board if you don’t have access to another and use it to chop your carrots. Slice them into 1cm thick batons, wash them and leave them aside. Turn on the chicken to a medium heat. Then start chopping up the ginger and garlic into tiny pieces. A big meaty cleaver helps with this. The smaller the better. You’ll see what I mean.

Somewhere in the middle of chopping up the ginger and garlic you’ll hear a mysterious voice whisper in your ear: ‘don’t forget to turn on the rice’. This will only occur if you chose to cook rice. Obey the voice.

When the chicken is almost cooked, which is usually when you’ve just peeled the garlic and ginger, put your carrots in the wok. If you’re cooking noodles, boil the water now.

When you feel like you can’t be bothered to chop ginger and garlic anymore, put them in the wok and turn the flame up high. I try to make some room in the middle of the wok and put them there, adding the soy sauce at the same time. I find that the flavours come out better when it’s been blasted with heat. Leave it for about 15 seconds and then stir it all in. After a few minutes I like to pick the wok up and toss the ingredients up into the air and catch them again in the wok. (I actually do this with the lid on but it’s still good practice). Finally, add a squirty of honey and a spoony of peanut butter. Stir it like that rumour you spread about Tom and Lucy back in ‘08.

If your choice was noodles, start cooking them now. They need about one or two minutes. If you chose rice, it should be cooked by now. Put it in a bowl and add a little bit of soy sauce. I like to add the noodles to the wok and stir fry them with some extra soy sauce.

About now everything should be ready. Just serve it up. Garnish with peanuts to add extra protein and a new crunchy texture.

And that’s it! Another just-satisfactory blog that has slipped through the editor’s occasionally slippery net.

Before your stay, Chengdu Blogs, China Business Blogs, How-to Guides, Learn about China, Understanding Business in China

How China’s development can benefit you

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.10.34 PM
 

Since China decided to open up their market to the world, known as 改革开放,Gaige Kaifang in 1978 major trade opportunities have developed from having access to such a large number of clients.

China is a country that loves technology and is developing faster than anyone could have predicted. As the country becomes richer, so does it’s people and thus their desire for modern products and fashionable items grows. The picture above highlights the level of development in only 20 years.

Major brands such as Apple, Intel, and Gillette and taken the country by storm, offering high quality products. Furthering this, there is a growing sense of consumerism here with locals opting to spend more on luxury items, such as coffee. Thus whilst China is still a developing country, even those who don’t earn a lot are willing to pay for high end, luxury products.

The fashion industry has also become highly popular among the richer population, with designer brands being displayed in every shopping centre. These brands often use western models and designs, which attract customers who want to show off their wealth. Beauty products, especially for women have taken off as some of the most popular foreign items for women,often being seen as better quality than their Chinese counterparts.

If you are looking to expand your business, the Chinese market is probably the best way to go. Locals are willing to pay top dollar for products which they believe are trustworthy and valuable. This creates a market for expensive goods in China, as it provides locals with an outlet to demonstrate their wealth and success.

By cleverly marketing your products as high end, expensive and with a modern feel, you’re business is likely to boom in the Chinese market. And remember, for many Chinese , when buying luxury items, west comes out best.

For more Chinese business insights, check out one of our interns blogs at http://chinesebusinessblogblog.wordpress.com

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