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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.

 

 

Before your stay, Cultural

First time in China? What to expect

If it’s your first time in China and you don’t know what to expect, here’s some useful information to help you familiarise yourself with China and ease yourself into the culture shock!
Food

Chinese food in China is not the usual sweet and sour chicken, chow mein etc that you would normally get back in the UK from your local takeaway. This stuff has been modified to suit the Western palette and does not represent Chinese cuisine as a whole. It is possible to have very authentic Chinese food in many restaurants in the UK (as Jamie our GM told us in his blog here), you just have to be open to trying new restaurants! There’s a large variety of different types and styles of Chinese food across China. I’m currently living in Chengdu, which is based in the Sichuan Province. This province is known for spicy dishes, such as hot pot, which can be quite oily and filled with the tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorn! At InternChina, on a weekly basis we arrange dinners for our interns, so you will have many opportunities to try the amazing local cuisine, wherever you will be based!

Traffic & Safety

The paths and roads are extremely busy with people, cars, bicycles, electric bikes and motorcycles. You will find that the bicycles and electric bikes will not stop at a red light, you will even find them on the pavement where pedestrians normally have the right of way . Never assume, it is safe to cross when there is a green light, there will be cars coming in all directions. But you will quickly grasp to learn to cross the road in no time. If you’re weary, try crossing the road with the locals and remember to just keeping going, don’t hesitate or stop abruptly. The drivers are amazing at driving around you!

InternChina – Traffic

Hygiene

Don’t be alarmed when you see a squat toilet! You do find them everywhere in China but you can also find western toilets. In rural areas, however the squat toilets are definitely the preferred choice. Tip: Always take wet wipes/hand sanitizer with you and also you should not put tissue down the toilet, as the plumbing system is not as good as back home.

Manners

From my first time in China, the manners of most Chinese people were the hardest for me to deal with. As there are so many people in China, they just don’t know how to queue. There was one time when I was in a queue, another person had pushed in and the person at the counter did not say anything! The whole queue went crazy and what was a nice queue turned into a mob, where every person pushing and shoving trying to get to the front. You will have to get accustomed to this, as you will never get anywhere especially if you are queuing for a bus! Tip: Look out for number one, just go for it, they will not bat an eyelid. However, this is not the case for every single city in China. I have experienced great customer service, where there was no pushing in allowed, and when this happened they were sent to the back of the queue.

Social Media

If you are a keen Social Media user and use platforms such as Facebook or Twitter and always use these to communicate with your family and friends, you should make sure you purchase and download a VPN, as these Social Media platforms are prohibited in China. One reliable provider is Astrill, which is fairly affordable as well.

In most cases, life in China will be nothing like life back home, but I think the fascinating culture and having to adapt to a completely new way of life is what makes a stay here so worthwhile!

Ready for an adventure? Apply now for an internship and come experience a new culture!

InternChina News, Manchester

William´s InternChina experience in Manchester

Written by William
Me
Hello, Ni Hao, Salut, Hallo, Hola, Ola, Ciao, Namaste, Czesc and Marhaban everyone (sorry if I missed any language out, I’m not actually fluent in all of these languages by the way!)
I am a 20 year old Marketing student from MMU in Manchester and I’m the new intern at InternChina in the Manchester office. My name is William Yau and I have been helping the General Manager, Jamie, with marketing work using something called the internet.
I grew up in a relatively rural town called Shrewsbury, located in the midlands of England, and I have been living in Manchester for the past 2 years due to University.

Summer Internship in Manchester

It’s very peaceful and traditional so it would be brilliant for an older person however; it lacks 2 things – 1) a bustling culture you can only find in a city and 2) an international scene. That’s where Manchester comes in.
This summer I, furthermore, adopted an extremely tourist persona and spent a month in Thailand, an experience that altered my perception on life.

Work
Why did I choose InternChina? As an ethnic Chinese I was born with a gravitation towards all things Oriental! The company seemed an exciting opportunity with a market I could relate to. I’m delighted that this opportunity came to fruition.
So… what have I been doing? Twiddling my thumbs all day and sleeping would be a lovely answer; however I am compelled to tell the truth. I was tasked with several internet based marketing activities such as blogging and search engine optimisation. It’s been very hands-on and I’ve had a lot to do (not just making tea!)
It’s interesting working in a different time zone to InternChina’s other offices because when I get to the office they’ve already been working for hours, it’s a difficult concept to grasp initially. However, it does mean the company is productive almost 24/7!

I believe this is a brilliant company that offers a wonderful service to its customers. The one thing I have noticed the most about them is how well they uphold their ethics, this is great as I would hate for anything to disturb my sleep at night.
‘A quiet conscience makes one strong!’ – Anne Frank

Advice
For future interns in Manchester I would advise you to get your 8 hours sleep, caffeine is not a sustainable substitute in my opinion, save any useful sites you use.

If you read all, half, a quarter, or even one line of this then thank you very much. I think InternChina is a great company and I hope to intern over in China soon to see the other side of the company.

Would you like to support InternChina in Manchester or in Chengdu, Qingdao or Zhuhai? Send your cover letter and CV info@internchina.com