China is known for its various technological advancements and media platforms. These advancements in technology have allowed small and large cities  to become more convenient and user friendly. A multitude of apps, programs, and services are provided for transportation, navigation, banking, delivery and anything else you would ever need; at the click of a button. While many apps are provided, there are a select few that will make living in China a breeze – whether you are a local or a foreigner – these apps will make your stay comfortable and convenient. 

The apps listed below are my recommendations for daily use that will make life easier. 

WeChat (微信) – WeChat is one of the most important apps to install before coming to China. Anything and everything can be executed through WeChat after verifying your passport information and adding a local Chinese phone number. WeChat is used for primary communication, social media, payment/banking, and transportation (taxis, metro, high-speed rail, planes, etc.) WeChat will be your main outlet for navigating daily life in China. 

Alipay (支付宝) – Alipay is another important app that mainly focuses on payment and banking. However, ordering a taxi and activating metro cards is also made easier with the app. Both Alipay and WeChat can be used as a main payment source as well as logging into other apps comparable to Gmail or Apple ID. 

Meituan (美团) – Meituan is a large shopping app comparable to the U.S. company Amazon. Meituan also includes Meituan WaiMai (外卖) which can be used as a form of delivery for food and household goods. Meituan also provides easy access to health products, restaurants, entertainment and other daily life necessities. 

Baidu (百度地图) – Baidu is the main Chinese navigation platform for chinese locals and can be conveniently used for any form of transportation. While Apple maps and Google maps are readily and easily available in China with the use of a VPN, Baidu often has precise location tracking which can help locate metro stations, bike rentals, and bus stops. 

Amap (高德地图) – Amap is frequently used by many locals and internationals as it is user friendly and allows you to navigate without the use of a VPN. Amap can be used to call a car, give directions by bus, train, or pedestrian roads, and is overall a good contender for one of the best navigation applications.

Metro (Metro大都会) and Metro Man – These are the best apps for navigating the Shanghai Metro as well as other city metro systems within China such as Suzhou and Chengdu. Metro大都会 is all in Chinese. However, it provides your train tickets, maps of metro stations, and easily accessible landmarks. Metro Man is the simplified English version of this app and allows for a smooth transition into the metro system. 

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) – Many international apps in China may be blocked or have the contents censored and restricted. In order to bypass the struggle of missing your everyday social media updates, it is best to download a VPN. NYU provides a VPN called Cisco AnyConnect but other VPN services such as NordVPN(requires subscription) have proven to be useful as well. 

Dianping (大众点评) – Dianping is a good app for finding popular and niche locations around Shanghai such as cafes, museums, art galleries, clothing stores, etc. 

Taobao (淘宝) – Taobao a service that is easily comparable to the American shopping platform Amazon and sells a multitude of products varying from clothing to electronics and home goods.