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Our original article on the top 10 most popular Chinese websites, was posted back in 2014 by the lovely Bethany. Although many of the pages in our original list are still some of the ‘most popular Chinese websites’, so much has changed online in the last few years, that it was time for the ‘Top 10 Most Popular Chinese Websites v2.0’.
This time, we’re not going to give you ‘10’ websites, we’re going to give you 10 categories of websites.
not only has China’s technology changed, but Written Chinese has developed too with new apps, tools, team members and thoughts and so we wanted to add some more information (and a video) in order to help you utilize and enjoy Chinese websites!
It is also fair to add that many people have now moved over from websites to their respective app versions, keep your eyes peeled for ‘popular app’ blog post!
Don’t be put off by many of these sites being in Chinese, even if you’re a beginner you can learn to navigate the sites by using a translator or dictionary to learn new characters. If you’re using a web browser, you can translate the characters using the Written Chinese online dictionary
With China’s “Great Firewall” blocking many websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, you may wonder what Chinese people use to navigate the internet. Below are the top ten Chinese websites and what kind of services they provide.
1. Search Engines
Baidu http://www.baidu.com/ 百度 (bǎi dù)
Baidu 百度 (bǎi dù) is still the most popular search engine in China. It is also an excellent place to download pictures, music, and watch TV shows. Because of copyright concerns, however, a lot of this material is not available in other countries.
Bing cn.bing.com 必应 (bì yìng)
Qi Lu, Microsoft’s Online Services President translated Bing into Chinese as 必应 (bì yìng) meaning ‘likely to answer’. Bing’s simplistic design includes a dictionary that translates many languages.
2. Social Networks
QQ qq.com 腾讯网 (téng xùn wǎng)
QQ 腾讯网 (téng xùn wǎng) is well known for its instant messaging service that is similar to ICQ or MSN messenger. The website offers other services as well, such as email, news, music, shopping, and games. Once you have created a QQ account, you can also register for “QQ Zone”, something similar to Facebook where you can post things on a wall that your friends can read.
Although people still use QQ.com as a source of news and information, Tencent is now more widely known (and used) for its mobile apps such as WeChat (China’s popular messenger service).
Weibo weibo.com 微博 (wēi bó)
Weibo 微博 (wēi bó) is China’s version of Twitter. Users can create a public account that their friends “follow” and posts follow the same 140-character limit. Chinese celebrities are very popular people to follow on Weibo. Weibo accounts can be viewed on the web and on the very-popular mobile version.
Weibo now has a new feature called 长微博 (cháng wēi bó, basically ‘long blog’) that allows users to now post longer articles with images.
Zhihu zhihu.com 知乎 (zhī hū)
In classical Chinese, 知乎 (zhī hū) means ‘do you know?’ and is a question and answer style set, similar to Quora.com. It’s frequently used to ask experts specialised questions on a variety of topics.
3. News and Email
These are the three most popular news sites that also include email in China.
Sina sina.com.cn 新浪网 (xīn làng wǎng)
Sina 新浪网 (xīn làng wǎng) is the most formal of the three and is the choice for broadcasting government-related news. Although dense with information, there are sections that cover entertainment, fashion, finance and sports articles. There’s also an amusing GIF section and featured videos.
NetEase 163.com 网易 (wǎng yì)
NetEase 网易 (wǎng yì) was once well known for its blogging service, but since the advent of Weibo, it has waned in popularity. NetEase is more accessible than Sina as far as information consumption is concerned. As well as local and national news, NetEase covers health advice, household and tourism.
Sohu sohu.com 搜狐 (sōu hú)
Sohu 搜狐 (sōu hú) is most well known for its Chinese-input method, Sogou. Sogou has an enormous word database that constantly adjusts to new slang and emerging words in science and technology-related fields.
IFENG.com ifeng.com 凤凰网 (fèng huáng wǎng)
Huangqiu.com huanqiu.com 环球网 (huán qiú wǎng)
The Paper thepaper.cn 澎湃新闻 (péng pài xīn wén)
The Paper 澎湃新闻 (péng pài xīn wén) has a more contemporary method of providing news and is easier to read than other more traditional news sites.
Taobao taobao.com 淘宝网 (táo bǎo wǎng)
You can find anything you want on Taobao 淘宝网 (táo bǎo wǎng) and likely it is very cheap! Packages come through the 快递 (kuàidì) or express delivery service in a matter of days. Other online markets, such as Amazon, have a hard time competing with the success of Taobao.
JD jd.com 京东 (jīng dōng)
Although Taobao is still extremely popular, other sites such as JD.com 京东 (jīng dōng), have also popped up recently as a more reliable source of genuine products. People are now using JD.com to buy fresh food, such as vegetables, fruits, meat and seafood.
Amazon amazon.cn 亚马逊 (yà mǎ xùn)
Amazon.cn 亚马逊 (yà mǎ xùn) has also become more popular lately, due to it’s handy ‘pay on delivery’ service. You can now order from amazon.com and get fast delivery from the USA and other western countries.
Youku youku.com/ 优酷 (yōu kù)
Essentially, Youku 优酷 (yōu kù) is China’s version of YouTube. It is very popular for watching Chinese dramas, music videos, and other popular videos of the day. There are more and more shows and films from the UK, USA and Korea and Youku have recently started to add an inexpensive subscription for access to brand new movies and unreleased tv series’.
iQIYI iqiyi.com 爱奇艺视频 (ài qí yì shì pín)
There are now many more websites for watching TV shows and movies that are becoming more and more popular. Some shows may not be available on Youku, but you can bet they’ll be on iQIYI 爱奇艺视频 (ài qí yì shì pín). You can watch some of our favourite shows, such as iSupermodel!
芒果TV mgtv.com/ 芒果TV (máng guǒ TV)
芒果TV (máng guǒ TV) not only includes tv shows and movies, but also music videos, documentary and educational shows. Mango TV is owned by one of the most famous Chinese TV channels, 湖南卫视 Hunan TV.
Biliblil bilibili.com 哔哩哔哩 (bì li bì li)
Bilibili 哔哩哔哩 (bì li bì li) is a video website almost exclusively for anime and animation. It has recently become well known for Chinese vloggers uploading their own lifestyle, travel, cooking and advice vlogs.
QQ Video https://v.qq.com/ 腾讯视频 (téng xùn shì pín)
腾讯视频 (téng xùn shì pín) is another member of the Tencent family, where you can stream a whole host of movies, tv shows and animations from China and abroad. If you use the app, you can download the shows and watch them offline!
Like many western websites and tools, Dropbox is also blocked in China. However, there is a Chinese version named pan.baidu (百度云) becoming more and more popular, especially to share media such as TV shows. People often share their content on Baidu so that others can download movies and other things more difficult to access in China.
Use these sites and apps to find new, trending music in China. Most have a good database of music from all over the world, including lesser-known artists. Some allow you to download tracks and play them offline.
NetEase Music http://music.163.com/ 网易云音乐 (wǎng yì yún yīn yuè)
Small Shrimp Music http://www.xiami.com/ 虾米音乐 (xiā mǐ yīn yuè)
QQ Music https://y.qq.com/ QQ音乐 (QQ yīn yuè)
Yinyue Tai http://www.yinyuetai.com/ 音悦台 (yīn yuè tái)
The Himalayas FM http://www.ximalaya.com/ 喜马拉雅FM (xǐ mǎ lā yǎ FM)
Dragonfly FM http://www.qingting.fm/ 蜻蜓FM (qīng tíng FM)
7. Travel and Tourism
Ctrip http://www.ctrip.com/ 携程 (xié chéng)
携程 (xié chéng) is the most popular Chinese website for booking flights, hotels, group tours, and other travel services. You can view the site in multiple languages, great if you’re travelling around China!
去哪儿? https://www.qunar.com/ 去哪儿? (qù nǎr)
As more and more Chinese people are travelling abroad, their website options to compare prices are also increasing. qunar.com also has an English version named qua.com.
AliTrip https://www.alitrip.com/ 飞猪 (fēi zhū)
With a flying pig as its logo, 飞猪 (fēi zhū) Alitrip is not only one of China’s popular websites for booking flights and hotels, it’s also a popular mobile app.
Ma Feng Wo http://www.mafengwo.cn/ 马蜂窝 (mǎ fēng wō)
马蜂窝 (mǎ fēng wō) is a travel search engine, which provides the user with suggestions for accommodation, restaurants and even how to get wifi. There are tons of reviews from people who have tried and tested these recommendations.
QYER http://www.qyer.com/ 穷游网 (qióng yóu wǎng)
Search for a city and view a mini guide for that place. There are ‘top 10s’ for each category, such as places to stay, places to eat and places to visit etc.
8. Entertainment & Life
My wonderful colleague, Chamcen, let me into what I believe to be (until now) a secret for most non-Chinese people. Sites similar to Groupon that offer discount codes and offers are becoming more prevalent in China and here are two to have a look at: dian ping (大众点评团) and Mei Tuan (美团). Because who doesn’t like a BOGOF now and again!
The following sites provide suggestions and reviews for restaurants, services, movie tickets, SPA and salons, take-out and group-purchases, just to name a few!
Dian Ping http://www.dianping.com/ 大众点评 (dà zhòng diǎn píng)
Mei Tuan www.meituan.com 美团网 (měi tuán wǎng)
Nuo Mi www.nuomi.com 糯米网 (nuò mǐ wǎng)
For maps in China, try these two options. 高德地图 is a clean easy-to-read map, with obvious symbols to indicate metro stations and areas of interest. There’s also a slight 3D look so that you can tell where buildings are.
Baidu Maps http://map.baidu.com/ 百度地图 (bǎi dù dì tú)
Gaode Maps http://ditu.amap.com/ 高德地图 (gāo dé dì tú)
10. Recipes and Cooking
Xia Chufang http://www.xiachufang.com/ 下厨房 (xià chú fáng)
Follow user added recipes with clear ingredient lists and pictures of each recipe step.
You can search for recipes by meal time, ingredient, occasion and consumer.
Have any other favourite Chinese websites? Please leave a comment below.