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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!


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.




5 Essential Apps for Students in China

InternChina_5 Essential Apps for Students in China
InternChina – 5 Essential Apps for Students in China

If you’re headed to China to study abroad, the chances are that you’ve done some research on the place. It’s also likely that you did this research with a popular search engine, such as Google. While there is so much that China has to offer, Google is not one of them. In addition to getting used to a new culture, language, time zone, and entire way of life, you’ll also have to adjust to the internet culture of the world’s largest country. In this article, we’ll explore the top five apps that will help you navigate a semester or two in China and make the most of your smartphone as you live and learn on the other side of the world.

1: WeChat (Weixin)    

Think about how often you communicate with Whatsapp, Viber, or Facebook Messenger. Now multiply that times at least ten. Now you have an idea of how integral WeChat is to Chinese communication. Since many other messaging platforms are limited or restricted by the Chinese government, WeChat is the most popular texting app in China; almost everyone uses it. It is also the most popular platform for sending messages to people in China, even when you are not in China yourself. In this way, WeChat is useful not only for making friends while you study abroad, but also for staying in touch after you’ve left the country.

It’s also a good idea for your family and friends who will be missing you from afar to download WeChat too. This way, they’ll have a surefire and reliable way to contact you.

2: Pleco

Pleco is the most recommended Chinese-English offline dictionary app. It is easy to use for everyone, from beginner to advanced level Chinese speakers. What’s more, it features all of the Chinese entries in transliteration (called “pinyin”) so that you can get an idea of how to pronounce words without having to know Chinese characters. Pleco also introduces you to common phrases and handy sentences, as well as idiomatic expressions that could prove to be quite useful!

3: Waygo Visual Translator

This is definitely one of the coolest language apps on the market! Waygo uses your smartphone’s camera to analyze Chinese characters and then produce an English translation directly. This app is especially handy for translating things like menus, road signs, and other simple or straightforward messages. The best thing about Waygo is that it works offline, so even if you aren’t connected to the internet, you can figure out exactly what it is you just ordered!

4: TripAdvisor

Of course, you want to look like a local and blend in to your surroundings. But it doesn’t hurt to do some sightseeing while you’re in a big city for just a short time! The TripAdvisor app is especially useful for when you first arrive, since it features offline maps of many cities throughout China. This allows you to navigate a new city before you’ve even found a WiFi connection. Just be sure to download the appropriate maps and guides before you head out, and you’re sure to know the way to go!

In addition to taking advantage of TripAdvisor, take a look at what InternChina has to offer in terms of information. They have a fantastic 48 hour guide to Zhuhai, and once you get some time to yourself, you will want to visit some of their recommendations for places to visit. They are experts regarding the country, and you need the best information to make the most of your stay.

5: Air Quality China

The air quality in China has become increasingly unpredictable in recent decades, largely due to the heavy industry that has moved into cities all across the nation. Just like you should check the weather before you head out for the day, you should also check the air quality. Air Quality China gives you up-to-the-minute information about the smog and pollution levels of all of the major cities in China. This can be particularly useful for planning everything from outings to outfits!

Finally, when studying abroad in China, the most important thing to remember is that you’re there for the experience! While these apps were specifically designed to help people navigate new places and explore new cultures, don’t let the apps get in the way of actually navigating a new place and actually exploring a new culture.

There is no substitute for local friends and connections: the greatest learning experiences that you’ll have during your time in China will come from the people around you, not from the device in your pocket!

InternChina - 5 essential Apps in China
InternChina – 5 essential Apps in China

Test these Apps yourself and apply for an internship now!

China Business Blogs, Corporate Social Responsibility, Events in Chengdu, Events in Qingdao, Events in Zhuhai, How-to Guides, InternChina News, Learn about China

WeChat payment for foreigners

As we already mentioned in a post from last week, Wechat is becoming a great platform for online payment. But unfortunately there are always uncertainties about online shopping for foreigners in China. Chinese customers use Taobao and Wechat payments, but for the creation of the bank account they provide their own Chinese ID.  That becomes an issue for foreigners that plan to stay longer in China, and blocks them from all the benefits of cheap online shopping.

We can inform you that there is a way around this. For WeChat payment a foreigner can create account in some banks and enjoy the freedom that this creates. Not all banks allow people from abroad to sign-up for WeChat payment. Some of them require a Chinese ID and the process gets you stuck. Here are a few options that will allow this procedure:

Chinese Merchants Bank – for both debit and credit cards


Agricultural Bank of China – credit cards only


These are the banks that we know of so far. We are certain that in the future this operation will increase as China becomes more open towards the foreign markets and many foreigners come to live here.

As mentioned in our earlier article, a person can add his credit or debit cards through the “Wallet” menu in WeChat. Simply press the “Add Card” option and follow the procedure.



The next menu will just ask for your card details and then if needed it will require the Chinese ID. But for the banks that we suggested there won’t be a requirement for Chinese ID.


WeChat offers a lot of extremely convenient functions which benefit everyone. After the credit/debit card is set up, a person can get access to each of these features:

  • Mobile Top Up – top up your credit for the phone. Very convenient and easy.
  • Wealth – Track your spending and savings in the account.
  • Lottery – who feels like some gabling? It’s on the tip of your fingers.
  • Order Taxi – Easy way to get a taxi if you are in a big city.
  • Specials – Online shopping mall for any kind of products.
  • QQ Coins – buy currency for your QQ account with an ease.
  • Lucky Money – Send and receive money from friends or contacts.
  • Group Buying – special offers for meals in restaurants. Reduced prices and promotions.
  • Credit Card – send money to another card or account.
  • Tencent Charity – Donate money for charity.
  • Movie Tickets – Buy tickets for the cinema.
  • Go Dutch – find a dining place, choose how much you would like to pay and meet new people on that table using the same program.
  • Air Ticket – Buy plane tickets.



All these awesome features are easier and easier to access. Tencent is creating a dominant platform for online shopping and is challenging Alibaba on its own territory. But this struggle between giants benefits only us the simple customers, because we receive more special offers and reduced prices. Hopefully this article was helpful for every foreigner that plans to stay for a longer period of time in China.

Make sure you check our Blog for more amazing news and opportunities in China!

China Business Blogs, How-to Guides, InternChina News, Understanding Chinese culture

WeChat Payment – First steps

Currently there is a raging war in the field of online micro-transactions. Everyone is speaking about Apple and their announcement of Apple Pay – a system for online payment similar with PayPal. But there are other micro-transaction companies that are already making a move. If you missed the news, the biggest social network in Asia is already offering these features and more to its customers.

WeChat is a mash up between Whatsapp, Facebook and PayPal with 438 million monthly active users. Chinese users already benefit freely from the so called “Quick Pay” (in Chinese “刷卡”, “swipe card”)

Here’s how it works:

Once a person enters their WeChat account in the “Me” section there is the option “Wallet”. Once you click it the “Wallet” menu will open. On the top there is the “Quick Pay” option:


If you didn’t add a card to it, it will ask for your bank card information. We will cover this in our next blog about WeChat and how to add a card as a foreigner in China. The option will then simply display a bar code which a person can show to the cashier in the partner stores. If you have to pay below 300 RMB you simply need to show the code and the transaction is done. If the amount is above 300RMB you will need to enter a secret payment code that you set up before.


There are many companies that have signed up to the WeChat payment system. It is not a surprise that many enterprises in China are already interested in the easy pay system. As the biggest social media platform and still rapidly growing each year, it’s getting more and more important to make the key partnership. Some companies that are already listed as payment partners are as follows:


Chinese e-commerce giant JD is also one of the key partners with Tencent. A shopping feature is soon going to be implemented in WeChat making it a fundamental part of everyday life in China. It will create a virtual shop combining all the partners of Tencent into one massive virtual mall on each person’s phone.

In the next post we will share with you how to create a wallet account as a foreigner in China. Follow us on our Blog page for more awesome news about China each day!

Before your stay, How-to Guides

Useful Apps to get you through your stay in China…

If you’re planning your trip to China, I thought I’d give you a little look at some of the most useful apps on the market to help you make the most out of your stay here. There are thousands of great apps available, so here are a few I have picked out:

InternChina – Apps in China

1) Pleco – An incredible Chinese dictionary. Free download. There are possibilities to pay for upgrades, but the core dictionary is free (upgrade includes flashcards). It is quick, has an incredible amount of vocab and is very easy to use. It includes full-screen handwriting and a radical index. I use this for hours a day – highly recommended. Also has some great 成语’s(Chinese sayings) if you are interested.

2) Weixin / We Chat – This is essentially the equivalent of WhatsApp but for China. Another free app, you can send instant messages and voice messages at the tap of a button. Another quite fun extra is you have your own little page with your own pictures and status’, and can find and talk to people in the vicinity (after checking out their pictures…!) I’ve heard it is often used by Chinese singles looking to find potential girlfriends/ boyfriends. Probably worth a try!

InternChina – WeChat

3) Accuweather – A free, easy to use app with a nice interface. Has special pages for almost every city in China, and the rest of the world in fact. A nice tool for travelling and every day life.

4) XE Currency Exchange – Not much of a problem for the English in China (£1 almost exactly equals 10RMB), but for those who work in Euros and Dollars this app can be quite useful. Free download giving you up-to-date exchange rates. Each data set is stored on your phone to keep previous rates available even when you are offline.

5) China Air Pollution Index – It is no secret that China produces a lot of pollution. This app lets you know just how dangerous it is to be in 120 of China’s major cities. It shows you graphs of pollution trends and is even kind enough to let you know when it is wise to wear a mask!

InternChina – Evaluate the Air Quality

6) Travel – There are loads of apps related to travelling/ city information for China. I have never downloaded any of these, but have heard that some of them are very useful. If you are interested have a look at these apps: “City Weekend Mobile”, “Explore Metro Guide” and “Dongdong Mobile”.

If you have any other suggestions please let us know!

by James

Are you interested in coming to China for an internship, homestay or language class? Apply now via email info@internchina.com or through our website!