Use this tool to add tone marks to pinyin or to convert tone number (e.g. hao3) to tone marks.

Although you can use the red buttons to add tone marks, we highly recommend you use the number method (e.g. hao3) for speed and placement of the accent above the correct vowel. [Hint: Type "v" for "ü"]
Note: You do not need to use this tool to enter pinyin in this dictionary.

Popular Mobile Apps in China (that can also be used in the west)

It will only take 10 minutes to read this post!

Whether you’re living in China or elsewhere in the world, there are still some awesome Chinese-made apps that you can use.
Some will help you improve your Chinese listening skills, most will improve your Chinese reading skills, and all can be very useful, even if you don’t live in China!

Below are some of the most popular mobile apps in China (collated by the wonderful Chamcen Liu):

1. 微信 (wēi xìn) WeChat

wechat

English interface: yes

Tencent have mastered the art of creating mobile apps and WeChat has become the IM app above all others. Actually, WeChat is not just an IM app, and that’s why if you live in China you will use this application. If there’s something you do daily, it’s integrated into WeChat. You can subscribe to Service accounts and groups like WrittenChinese and get daily updates and content. Similar to Facebook, you can post your ‘Moments’ as pictures or links, find new friends or play games. You can video call, voice call or ‘walkie talkie’ with your friends.

Local Services

If you’re in China and have an android phone a new feature has just been introduced whereby you can set up bank transfers and payments. WeChat wallet allows you to send money to friends and pay your bill at the supermarket, cinema or cafe!

Similar Apps: QQ, 陌陌

Western Equivalent: Whatsapp

Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian, Blackberry, Nokia, Web

2. 新浪微博 (xīn làng wēi bó) Sina Weibo, Chinese microblogging website

ce0f397553b7ff16c60367bb84107c2b

English interface: yes

people like to writing blog there, and sharing reviews of movies / books / music / TV show and experience( like traveling, cooking, handwork… there. There are fun groups, like art, movie, book, hot topics, cooking, constellation, trivia, etc.

Local services
And if you want to get any news about the local party, concert or event, you can also find the news there.

Similar App:
豆瓣 (dòu bàn) Douban, PRC social networking website

Western Equivalent: Twitter

Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian, Blackberry

3. 搜狗输入法 (sōu gǒu shū rù fǎ) Sougou Input Method

sogou

English interface: No, but there’s a straightforward tutorial to help you add a new input.

This is a popular Chinese input method that allows you to quickly change the input method between pinyin, English and handwriting. There’s also a wubi keyboard and useful shortcut keyboards such as websites, measurements and even the cyrillic alphabet. Of course, there are emoticons 颜文字, lots and lots of emoticons, including (づ ●─● )づ Baymax!)

╭(╯3╰)╮, ⊙ o ⊙….

Western Equivalent: Generic Emoticons app

Available for iOS, Android, Web

4. 下厨房 (xià chú fáng)

xiachufang

English interface: No

Users are able to share their own cooking recipes for Chinese food, western food and desserts (yum, yum)!
You can add you own recipes, and share pictures of your dishes afterwards. The format of the recipes is clear and many users have added images to help with the cooking method. Although the recipes seem user generated the results look professional – you’ll definitely want to try it out!

There’s also a forum where you can ask any questions about cooking.

Local Services
You can find people around you who are also using the app. Get together, do a little cookin’…
The app shares good deals on special food products that you can purchase via an external app.

Similar app: 美食杰

Western Equivalent: Foodily, Allthecooks

Available for iOS, Android, Web

5. 115云 (115 yún)

115yun

English interface: No

This is a cloud tool similar to that of DropBox. Once registering or logging in via WeChat or Weibo, you will receive up to 115GB of cloud space. You can gradually increase your space by finishing tasks such as completing your personal details or sharing with a friend.

Similar app: 百度云盘

Western Equivalent: Dropbox

Available for iOS, Android, Web

 

6. 荔枝FM (lì zhī) LiZhi

lizhi

English interface: No, but you can follow our tutorial here.

Lizhi is where we host our very own podcast, the Two White Chicks in China. Not only can you access this delight, but many other kinds of podcasts in Chinese. Great for those of you wanting to take it to the next level!

Similar app: 窄客

Western Equivalent: Stitcher, iTunes Podcasts

Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Web

7. 多米音乐 (duō mǐ yīn yuè)

duomi

English interface: Nope.

多米 is a music player where you have access to plenty of different genres of music. This is great for those of you who enjoy listening to Chinese music, although they also have some Western music popular in China.

Similar app: 豆瓣音乐人

Western Equivalent: Spotify

Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian, Windows (PC)

8. 网易新闻 (wǎng yì xīn wén) NetEase News

163news

English interface: No.

This is a 24 hour Chinese news app, that similarly the BBC news app brings updated news stories from all over the world including videos, local news, entertainment and financial news. Navigating the app is simple, but as it’s written all in Chinese your reading skills need to be fairly decent.

Similar app:

Western Equivalent: BBC News

Available for iOS, Android, Web

 

Local services (for use in China)


 

1. 优酷 (yōu kù) YouKu

youkuhd

English interface: No

Youku is a brilliant resource for videos, movies and tv shows, if you’re in China.
You can even download videos to your device to watch later.

Similar app: 爱奇艺,腾讯视频,百度视频…

Western Equivalent: YouTube without the copyright

Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian, Blackberry, Nokia

 

2. 淘宝 (táo bǎo) Taobao

taoabao
English interface: No

Taobao is simple to use and easy to navigate. Similarly to the web version, you are given daily deals, products you may like (based on your previous purchases) and products that are new and desirable. You can also search, add to your cart and pay for your products. Because of it’s compact nature, I actually find this easier to use than the web.
The taobao app also has a quick menu to additional tools such as topping up your mobile phone, buying travel tickets and hotels and my most recent discovery, ordering food from nearby restaurants.

Similar app: 京东

Western Equivalent: Ebay

Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone

3. 支付宝 (zhī fù bǎo) Alipay Wallet

alipay

English interface: No

Alipay is used to pay for products purchased in Taobao and other e-commerce venues. Once your bank account is connected to your Alipay it is much easier to transfer money and pay for goods.

Similar app:

Western Equivalent: Paypal

Available for iOS, Android, Web
 
 

4. 百度地图 (bǎi dù dì tú) Baidu Maps

baidu maps

English interface: No

With no GoogleMaps in China, Baidu maps is the next best thing (and it’s more accurate). You can get public transportation routes (bus / metro / taxi), driving and walking directions. A cool addition to this app is the function to get a taxi or private car without installing Uber.

Similar Apps: 腾讯地图,高德地图。

Western Equivalent: Googlemaps

Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian
 
 

5. 去哪儿 (qù nǎr)

qunar

English interface: No, but the web version has an English version: qua.com

If you can navigate this app in Chinese you can probably get some great deals on flights, hotels and package holidays worldwide. As with similar western apps, just type in the dates and destination for your vacation and it will provide you with prices. You can even type in English or pinyin!

Similar Apps: 携程, 阿里旅行, 铁路12306

Western Equivalent: Ctrip, Expedia

Available for iOS, Android, Web

 

6. 滴滴打车 (dī dī dǎ chē)

diddache

English interface: No
If you often find yourself needing a taxi during rush hour or when the bars close, 滴滴打车 is the app for you. Just send a voice message stating where you are and a taxi will be with you soon!

Western Equivalent: Uber

Available for iOS, Android
 
 
 
 

7. 大众点评 (dà zhòng diǎn píng)

dianping

English interface: No

大众点评 provides users with reviews for restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues in your local area.
Like Groupon, the app also gives special deals, discounts or limited offers.

Similar app: 美团

Western Equivalent: Groupon

Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Nokia
 

8. 机锋 (jī fēng) GFan

jifeng

English interface: No

If you’re in China and have an android phone, you might have noticed it’s a little bit difficult to download apps. 机锋 is an Android app market that hosts many apps you may not be able to access whilst in China.

Similar app: 应用宝, 安卓市场

Western Equivalent: Google Play

Available for Android
 

9. 喝啥 (hē shá)

hesha

English interface: Not yet (but fingers crossed!)

An app that combines a love of wine, meeting like-minded people and even adding some romance into the mix.
The developers of 喝啥 have scouted the web and found the cheapest deals for good wine (which if you live in China isn’t easy) and wine accessories (wine glasses, decanters etc). They also review and recommend other types of 酒 including the Chinese people’s favourite 白酒.

Western Equivalent: Hello Vine, Drync, Vivino

Available for iOS, Android

10. 用药助手 (yòng yào zhù shǒu)

yongyao

English interface: No

This app can be massively useful as you can search for both western and Chinese medicines. It lists ingredients, instructions on how to take it and even user recommendations. You can also search by condition and read news articles about health and lifestyle.

Similar apps: 丁香医生, 春雨医生

Western Equivalent: NICE BNF

Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone

 
DON’T FORGET! Wherever you are in the world you can always use this app:
 

Written Chinese Dictionary

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If you can’t access the Android market on your phone, you can just click here to download the WCC Dictionary APK file!

English interface: Of Course!

This mobile app is the perfect Chinese learning tool no matter where you are. Use it as a dictionary, learn how to write characters, learn radicals, use the OCR tool, read stories AND save words as flashcards.

Available for iOS, Android, Web

Facebook Comments

  • Naray Pereira

    Nice post! Pleco is a good app too 🙂

    • Totoro Peters

      yes, Pleco rocks!