How to Keep in Touch in China – Apps to Emails to Phones

Cell phone taking photo Many people have the fear that once they enter China, they will be wholly cut off from the “ outside world ” due to internet censoring and what is known as “ The Great Firewall ” .
If you ‘re a social media drug addict, you understand the motivation to keep everyone updated, whether it ‘s through sharing pics on Instagram, or your 160 quality thoughts on Twitter, or fair dropping a line on Facebook. unfortunately, these major sites and apps are blocked throughout China. But have no fear, there are placid many ways you can communicate and keep in touch with your loved ones .

Smartphone Apps

WeChat (or Weixin 微信)

WeChat is one of the most popular free messaging apps in China and provides many features compared to other social messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger. It has developed into one of the best multi-functional and social network apps in use nowadays. It is one of the most commodious ways to keep in touch with guides .
With WeChat, users can upload profile pictures, mail “ Moments ” to their timeline ( a feature similar to Instagram ), send clamant messages to each other or to a group of people, and have eminent quality video call like you would with Skype. WeChat has created intuitive ways to add friends and meet new people. You can parcel your WeChat ID, read QR codes to add friends, sync your call contacts and evening shake your phones together. By shaking your earphone, you will be immediately connected with all WeChat users that happen to be shaking their phones at that particular prison term, whether they are future to you or on the other side of the ball.

WeChat also features drift bottles where users can write messages and spend it in a virtual sea, where other users can pick it up and read it. recently, WeChat has introduced WeChat wallet where users can link WeChat to their trust account and pay vendors or contacts via WeChat. Learn how to sign up for a WeChat score nowadays .
When traveling in China in 2020, a fleeceable Code that shows your health condition is required : this Health QR code organization has been implemented throughout the state .
You can scan the QR code at airports, string stations, hotels, etc. with WeChat or Alipay to get a local health code. See more on China Travel Restrictions .


If you ‘re looking for a simple and easy-to-use app for the sole purpose of socializing, WhatsApp is the right messaging app for you. WhatsApp allows you to send outright sum of SMS messages, videos, pictures, and files for free. In addition to the traditional one-on-one message, WhatsApp users can create group chats to stay in touch with friends and syndicate .
It besides provides a feature where WhatsApp users can plowshare high quality phone calls across the ball using WiFi or data connection. exchangeable to Facebook, WhatsApp shows whether the users are on-line or when they were last seen. This is an particularly helpful have when dealing with the time dispute between China and home .


QQ is a popular chinese communication app that is about nameless in western culture. This app allows you to instant message contacts, television chew the fat, and meet new friends well. It was one of the most popular apps before WeChat came to the market. once WeChat became available, QQ was not used as frequently, because WeChat has more user-friendly features for social interaction .
immediately QQ remains an authoritative app for schools for communication between teachers and parents. It provides many significant functions relating to study and family work .


WeCom is chiefly a communication app for business/work. It was previously named WeChat Work. For effective occupation connection, WeCom provides tools like Event, Meeting, WeDoc, etc. It has been widely used by many big companies, like Bank of China, Cartier, and Walmart .
Using WeCom, you can keep in conclude contact with your work and colleagues during your business trip a well as contact WeChat users ( with no need for a VPN ) .

Social Media

China ‘s rigid on-line censoring means that most traditional social media sites will be blocked. however, through the use of a virtual secret net ( VPN ) travelers can even use their front-runner social media sites with relative ease. This is a legal bypass for international visitors and something everyone looking for internet access in China should inquiry. The following social media sites will be listed as Blocked or not Blocked to let you know which require a VPN and which do not .

Weibo (Not Blocked)

This microblogging web site is China ‘s answer to Twitter and functions in much the lapp manner. Weibo is one of the top sociable media sites in China with millions of daily users. Since this site is geared towards a chinese audience, most of your friends and class will probably need to be introduced to its functions. This is, however, an excellent way to keep in contact with local and external newsworthiness. If your contacts back family are avid Twitter users, consider suggesting Weibo to them as an easy way to keep in contact with you during your travels .

Snow (Not Blocked)

This popular application blurs the line on what counts as a social media site. Snow is the south korean answer to Snapchat. It allows you to send videos and pictures to other users, american samoa well as hire in live video recording chats using a smartphone or other device. exchangeable to Snapchat, it had many filters and add-ons which make it popular with a younger consultation of users. The app is democratic with unseasoned chinese people and is available for download on Apple and Android devices .

Twitter (Blocked)

You are probably more companion with the american version of Weibo, Twitter. With millions of users internationally, Twitter is an ideal place to keep up to go steady with news program and people both inside and outside of China. however, Twitter is formally blocked by the chinese government and will require a VPN in ordain to access its content. If you are alone going to be in China for a short menstruation, it may not be worth your time to invest in a VPN subscription. But if you merely ca n’t live without tweeting details from your trip, then this might be the good choice for you .

Reddit (Blocked)

Like Twitter, Reddit is besides blocked and will require a VPN in ordering to access its content. The social media, news collection, and discussion web site is popular with a younger audience in western polish and is known for linking people in sealed interest groups together. however, since it is a recess media platform it is not an ideal way to stay in contact with older family members or friends who are unfamiliar with the web site .

Facebook (Blocked)

Facebook has revolutionized the way we connect with others across the earth. As one of the largest social media platforms, Facebook is accessible for people of all generations. however, it is presently blocked in China. Facebook and Facebook Messenger may be the easiest and most incorporate way to message supporter and family, but identical few chinese people have entree to the web site. In order to use it in China you will need a VPN connection for your phone or calculator. With the modern video recording new world chat feature and Facebook live, both of which allow you to stream a be video prey from anywhere in the earth, it is a handy site/application for staying in contact with the outdoor earth.

Instagram (Blocked)

Instagram is one of the most democratic double and video partake platforms in use today. Millions of users post pictures of glamours travel shots from around the world. While a promptly search will show you batch of amazing shots captured in China, the web site itself is banned .
however, unlike Facebook and Twitter, there is a large presence of Chinese youth on Instagram. One of the best ways to see what life is like in a certain city is to look it up on Instagram and see what other travelers and locals are posting from there. adenine long as you have a VPN, it is a great choice for keeping people at home updated on you travels and engaging with people round you arsenic well .

Snapchat (Blocked)

Is the original Snow and is growing in popularity across the globe. While presently still banned in China, it can however work with a VPN and a senior high school accelerate internet connection. Since the VPN tends to slow down the overall travel rapidly of your calculator or device, Snapchat can have issues with imprison time on slower chinese connections. If you love the filters and behind-the-scenes find of Snapchat, consider giving Snow a attempt while traveling .

Video Chatting

many of the applications and social media sites listed above offer video calling along with other features, such as : WeChat, Snow, and Facebook Messenger. This segment will refer to websites and applications devoted specifically to international video calls .


If you an Apple device user you are credibly conversant with the FaceTime application that comes pre-installed on all Apple devices. This television calling chopine allows you to use your computer, iPad, or iPhone to video chat with another Apple device anywhere in the worldly concern via data or WiFi connection .
FaceTime is high quality video and requires a fast internet connection to perform well. It ‘s a fantastic manner to keep in contact with people who own Apple devices, but may not be ideal if your frequent contacts use a different type of device .


Skype is one of the biggest names in video calling software in habit today, and for adept rationality. Skype is available on all devices and brands and provides absolved video chew the fat and messaging internationally. Skype does not require a VPN joining and therefore has better connections speeds than some other platforms. Skype is besides user friendly, meaning that aged parents or friends will have an easier clock time contacting you than navigating a social media site or app .

Google Hangouts

The Google Hangout feature, which allows you to video chat with multiple people at once, is an excellent way to stay up to date with family and ally groups. however, Google and its affiliate programs are blocked in China. This means that in ordain to use Google Hangouts you will need to use a VPN connection. Google Hangout is available on any device liked to a Google explanation .



As stated above, Google websites are officially blocked in China. This means that accessing your Gmail score will require the use of a VPN connection. If you are emailing friends and relatives back home, this is an easy option. This will besides allow you to email with chinese locals who will be using other e-mail servers. If you plan to use other aspects of Google services such as Google Docs on your travels then it is feasible to get a VPN and continue using your Gmail account .

Yahoo Mail

yahoo Mail is another democratic e-mail server with western users and it is not blocked in China. Accessing the web site is potential without the function of a VPN. If you are planning to use electronic mail as your primary coil means of communication with syndicate spinal column home and you are only staying for a short-change while then Yahoo Mail may be your best option. It will allow you to stay connected without having to jump for a VPN subscription .

Chinese Email Servers

There are myriad of chinese e-mail servers, which of run are not blocked by the government. however, signing up and using one of these services may be difficult if you have a limited command of Mandarin. If you are planning to stay in China for an extend period and have a full command of basic Mandarin then there are many local options to choose from. however, for the causal tourist, it is best to stick to what you know .


WordPress and are blogging networks that allow travelers to share media and textbook updates about their travels with follows back home. It is very democratic to start a travel web log to document your adventures for yourself and those close to you .
While you many need a VPN to operate the sites properly, it can be worth it if you enjoy keeping in touch through blogging. Blogs allow you to share recorded video content, text posts, and movie galleries with your followers. They are a great way to parcel your trip with others back home .


Tumblr is a blogging/microblogging web site that has a large drug user root outside of China. You will need a VPN to access the web site, but it provides a free report with the ability to share textbook, television, and images with your followers. There is besides a personal message feature of speech which allows you to engage with other users directly. If you are an avid Tumblr exploiter back home it should be easy for you to stay connected with the serve of a solid VPN .

Using Phones in China

Most people planning to stay for an carry period will buy a local SIM card that can be inserted into an unlock telephone ( one not bound to a certain servicing provider ) for international practice. This is by far the easiest method, but costs may vary depending on area, usage, overhaul coverage, and data limits. Phone booths are normally available in major cities but rare in rural areas or in the far west .
While cellular phones from early countries work in China, there calls can be expensive. It is wise to talk to you local provider before leaving your home country about international rates. Likewise, hotel phones and pay phones can be very expensive for external calls .
Learn more about phoning in China > > >

Plan Your Visit to China

China Highlights can help with earphone rental and other communication needs for our clients .
Visiting China for the first gear prison term ? explore our recommendations, such as the classic Wonders 11-day trip to China ‘s greatest landmark, or our golden Triangle tour for 8 days in the three most popular cities in China .

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