Top Apps You Need for Your Business Trip to China

Table of Contents

Messaging & Payments: WeChat

Navigating around China: Baidu Maps & Amaps

Food Delivery: Meituan & Eleme

Hotels, Attractions, and Travelling: Ctrip

Scaling the Great Firewall of China: LetsVPN / AstrillVPN / Mullvad VPN

Business Communications: Bluente

1. Messaging & Payments: WeChat 微信

First on the list is WeChat, the all-in-one super app you need in China, offering a wide range of features and services that includes messaging, mobile payments, and social networking.

WeChat logo

Here's what you can do on WeChat:

1. Messaging: Works just like any other messaging platforms. Users can send texts, voice messages, videos and images to each other as long as they are added as friends. Has animated and static sticker packs like Telegram. The only downside (or upside) to the app is that does not show last seen timings, or the statuses (online or offline) of the other users.

Sticker pack on WeChat
WeChat sticker packs

2. Voice Calls & Video Calls: Users can make voice calls and video calls to their contacts, much like Telegram and WhatsApp.

Video call and voice call on WeChat
Video call using Wechat

3. Social Networking: Users can post updates (also known as WeChat Moments 朋友圈), share photos and videos, like and comment on your friends' posts. WeChat also introduced a new function that allows users to share 24-hour statuses.

WeChat Moments
WeChat Moments

4. Mobile Payment: Users can use WeChat Pay to make payments in stores, transfer money to friends, and pay utility bills. Payments can be made online and offline. Find out how to set up WeChat Pay, and make payments as a foreigner in this blog post.

5. Mini Programs: WeChat also offers mini programs which are lightweight apps within WeChat for various services such as food delivery, ride-hailing, and shopping. Games are also available on mini programs.

6. Official Accounts: Official accounts are accounts that publish articles and updates, much like Facebook pages. Businesses, media, celebrities, brands often have their own official account to publish news, opinion articles, updates and more.

WeChat Official Accounts
WeChat Official Accounts

7. Location Sharing: WeChat allows you to share your location with your friends.

Location sharing on WeChat

8. Scan QR Codes: Scan QR codes to access websites, make payments, or add contacts.

Scan function on WeChat

9. Group Chat: Create or join group chats with up to 500 members.

10. Language Translation: Translate messages and posts.

WeChat translate messages function

Know more about how to use each function and feature in WeChat in this guide to WeChat's functions and features.

You can download WeChat on the App Store, or Google Play in advance and set up your account a few days prior to your trip.

2. Navigating around China: Baidu Maps 百度地图 / AMaps 高德地图

When navigating around China, you might find that you are unable to use Google Maps in the country. China has their own map services with a whole suite of functions and features, which we will go into detail here.

Baidu Maps 百度地图

Baidu maps icon

Baidu Maps is a popular mapping and navigation service in China, developed by Baidu, the country's leading search engine. Here are some features you might find useful in the app:

1. Detailed Maps: Baidu Maps provides detailed maps of China, including cities, towns, and rural areas, covering roads, landmarks, and points of interest. The map offers 3D view, street view, and satellite views.

Baidu maps interface

2. Navigation: The app offers turn-by-turn navigation for driving, walking, and public transportation.

3. Real-Time Traffic Information: Baidu Maps provides real-time traffic updates, including congestion, accidents, and road closures.

4. Location-Based Services: Users can search for nearby restaurants, hotels, shops, and other businesses, with detailed information such as contact details, reviews, and ratings

Location-based services in baidu maps
Location-based services in Baidu maps

5. Street View: Baidu Maps offers a street view feature, allowing users to explore neighborhoods and landmarks virtually. The street view function also helps navigation, making it easier for users to travel around.

Baidu maps street view
Baidu map street view

6. Offline Maps: Users can download maps for offline use, helpful when traveling in areas with limited internet connectivity. Learn how to navigate to the offline maps here.

7. Ride-hailing services: You can hail rides directly from the Baidu app from a series of ride hailing platforms integrated into the app.

Baidu map ride hailing
Baidu map ride-hailing

Download Baidu maps on App Store or Google Play.

Gaode Maps (Amaps) 高德地图

Gaode Maps, also known as Amap, is another popular mapping and navigation service in China, developed by Alibaba Group's AutoNavi subsidiary.

It offers similar features to Baidu Maps, with a focus on accuracy and real-time updates:

1. Comprehensive Mapping Data: Gaode Maps provides detailed maps of China, including cities, towns, and rural areas, with information on roads, landmarks, and points of interest.

Map interface of Amap
Map interface in Gaode

2. Navigation: Similar to Baidu Maps, the app offers turn-by-turn navigation for driving, walking, and public transportation, with real-time updates on traffic conditions.

3. Real-Time Traffic Updates: Gaode Maps provides real-time traffic updates, including bus arrival timings, areas with congestion, accidents, and road closures, helping users find the fastest route to their destination.

In-app bus arrival timing estimation
In-app bus arrival timing estimation

4. Location-Based Services: Users can search for nearby businesses, restaurants, hotels, and other services, with detailed information and reviews.

Gaode in-app reviews
Gaode in-app reviews

5. Offline Maps: Gaode Maps also allows users to download maps for offline use, useful when traveling in areas with poor internet connectivity.

Downloading offline maps in Gaode
Downloading offline maps in Gaode

6. Integration with Other Services: Gaode Maps is integrated with other Alibaba Group services, such as online shopping and reservations, providing a seamless user experience.

Other functions on Amap
Other functions available on Gaode Maps

7. Ride-hailing services: You can also hail a ride from the app directly, with the services provider and prices stated.

Ride-hailing services in Gaode
In-app ride hailing in Gaode

Download Gaode/Amaps from the App Store or Google Play.

3. Food Delivery: Meituan 美团 / Eleme 饿了么

Food delivery apps in China have transformed the dining experience in the country, offering convenience and variety to consumers. Apps like Meituan (美团) and Eleme (饿了么) dominate the Chinese food delivery market. Let's take a look at these two apps in detail.

Eleme 饿了么

Eleme logo

1. Food Delivery: Eleme specializes in food delivery, offering a wide range of restaurants and cuisines to choose from. Like Meituan, users can adjust the price range, delievery times, and food selections using filters. User reviews and ratings of the restaurant's food is also available in the app.

Eleme homepage
Eleme app homepage

2. Live Delivery Tracking: Users can track the status of their food delivery in real-time, from preparation to delivery.

Delivery tracking on Eleme

3. Restaurant Recommendations: Eleme provides personalized restaurant recommendations based on user preferences and past orders.

Recommended restaurants
Recommended restaurants in Eleme

4. Group Ordering: Eleme offers group ordering options, allowing users to order together with friends or colleagues and split the bill.

Group ordering on Eleme

5. Customer Support: Eleme provides customer support to assist users with any issues or inquiries related to their orders.

Get Eleme here on the App Store. The app is not available on Google Play.

Meituan 美团

Meituan logo

1. Food Delivery: Meituan offers a wide selection of restaurants for food delivery, with options for various cuisines and price ranges. You can set filters to adjust the price ranges of the options shown. In addition, you can read food reviews and ratings from other customers within the app.

Meituan food delivery
Meituan food delivery

Other features of Meituan

In addition to food delivery, Meituan also has a suite of features that users can tap on. Here are some of the more commonly used ones:

1. Group Buying Deals (团购): Besides food delivery, Meituan also offers group buying deals for restaurants, hotels, and other services (such as beauty services), allowing users to enjoy discounts when they buy in bulk. Click on "特价团购" or "美食团购" on the homepage to check out the group buying deals.

Group buying deals on Meituan

2. Hotel Booking: Users can also book hotels through the Meituan app, with options for different price ranges and locations.

Hotel booking in Meituan

3. Travel Services: Meituan also offers travel services such as ticket booking for attractions, transportation (trains, planes, etc), and tours, which is similar to what travel apps like Ctrip offer.

4. Ride-hailing: Meituan also offers ride-hailing services. Simply tap on "打车" in the homepage to hail a ride.

Get Meituan on App Store, or Google Play.

Meituan vs. Eleme

Features Meituan Eleme
Food Delivery ✔️ ✔️
Restaurant Reviews ✔️ ✔️
Group Buying Deals ✔️
Hotel Booking ✔️
Travel Services ✔️
Live Delivery Tracking ✔️
Restaurant Recommendations ✔️
Group Ordering ✔️

4. Hotels, Attractions, and Travelling: Ctrip 携程

Ctrip logo

1. Flight, Hotel, Train Booking: Ctrip allows users to search and book flights and train tickets from various airlines and major train routes in China, with options for different seat classes. The app also allows users to book hotels, including detailed information about room types, amenities, and guest reviews.

Book flights, trains and hotels on Ctrip
Booking hotels, flights and trains

2. Car Rental: Users can rent cars through Ctrip, with options for different car models, rental durations, and pickup/drop-off locations.

Renting a car Ctrip
Renting a car on Ctrip

3. Vacation Packages: Ctrip offers vacation packages that include flights, hotels, and tours to popular destinations, providing a convenient way to plan and book a trip.

Vacation packages on Ctrip

4. Attraction Tickets: Users can purchase tickets for attractions, shows, and tours through Ctrip, often at discounted prices.

Attraction tickets on Ctrip

5. Customer Reviews and Ratings: Users can read reviews and ratings from other travelers to help them make informed decisions about their bookings.

6. 24/7 Customer Service: Ctrip provides 24/7 customer service to assist users with their bookings, changes, or inquiries.

Ctrip customer service

7. Travel Guides and Tips: Ctrip also offers travel guides and tips for various destinations, helping users plan their trips more effectively.

Travel guides and tips on Ctrip

5. Scaling the Great Firewall of China: LetsVPN / AstrillVPN / Mullvad VPN

VPNs available in China

To use browsers like Google, and visit apps like Gmail, Instagram, YouTube and more in China, you will need a working VPN.

While LetsVPN, AstrillVPN and Mullvad VPN are those that work in China now, it might not be the case in the future. The VPNs that work in China will change from time to time, so do keep a lookout on updates.

VPN Comparison Table

Features LetsVPN AstrillVPN MullvadVPN
Pricing Offers both free and paid plans Offers paid plans with a 7-day free trial Offers a single pricing plan
Compatibility Available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS Available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS Available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Kill Switch Not specified Yes Yes
Speed Claims to offer fast and stable connections Claims to optimize servers for speed Not specified
Privacy Policy Does not collect or log traffic data No logging policy No logging policy
Security Offers encryption Offers encryption Offers encryption
Anonymous Payments Not specified Does not offer anonymous payments Offers anonymous payments

Download these VPNs here:

LetsVPN: App Store, Google Play

AstrillVPN: App Store, Google Play

Mullvad VPN: App Store, Google Play

6. Business Communications: Bluente

Bluente logo

When you are headed to China for a business trip, business meetings and meetings with clients are definitely on the top of the priority list. Master industry terms and communicate with your Chinese clients or partners smoothly through Bluente's business language learning app.

Here are some of the app's features:

1. Glossary of industry terms: The app offers a glossary of more than 36,000 verified terms across legal, finance and general business industries in Chinese, English and Indonesian. Users can find the terms they need by searching it in their spoken language, and see the translated terms in Chinese. The glossary works just like a multilingual dictionary.

Bluente's glossary of terms

2. Word lists: The app also has word lists that curate terms according to topics in each industry. Users can also create their own word lists to organise the terms they need based on topics or use cases.

Word lists in Bluente

3. Courses for learning industry-specfic terms: The app teaches terms across topics via courses. These courses allow users to learn the times in a bite-sized manner, and also contain practice quizzes for users to test their retention of the terms.

Bluente's courses

4. Culture articles: Users can take a look at the in-app culture articles which teach business etiquette and the culture of China. This allows users to better understand business and cultural contexts in China.

Culture articles in Bluente

Check out some of the culture articles here:

The All-in-One Guide to WeChat Functions and Features

Chinese Business Etiquette: Navigating Cultural Customs When Dining

The Ultimate Guide to Chinese Tea Etiquette

How To Welcome Chinese Guests

Download Bluente on the App Store or Play Store.

That's all for the list! With these apps, you cover day-to-day payments, getting around the country, accommodations, and much more.

This article is brought to you by Bluente.

Bluente is the world’s first business language services platform. We built a document translation tool where you get your translated documents in less than 2 minutes, retaining the same format of your file. Try it now at We also we teach business languages (CN, ID, EN, ES) tailored for professionals through our mobile and web app. Find out more here:

Back to Blog