Popular Free Mobile Apps for iPhone Users in China

The popularity of smartphones has seen the unprecedented growth of mobile applications. There are a variety of app genres in the market: gaming, social media, e-commerce, music, education, business, etc. and no matter your needs, you can be sure that there is an app available. Here we’ve rounded up the most popular free iPhone apps in China.


WeChat remains the number 1 app used by mobile users. More than a simple messaging and social media app, WeChat is a lifestyle app for over 1 billion users across the world. People use the free app to chat and make voice or video calls, read news, search information, play games, use local services, make convenient mobile payments, and much more. WeChat is consistently updated, bringing new interesting features like the June Nudge function, as well as recently being updated with new emojis.


Pinduoduo, the second-largest e-commerce platform in China, is gaining popularity among young people. “Together, More Savings, More Fun” is its slogan. Pinduoduo has a unique “team purchase” option for discounted prices. People can ask their friends to make a “team purchase” via WeChat or QQ. Sometimes, goods are free if users get enough friends to go in on the price. According to its Q3 financial report, Pinduoduo’s average monthly active users reached 643.4 million, an increase of 50% from 429.6 million in the same quarter in 2019.


Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, is one of the top free video apps prevailing in both domestic and overseas markets. This platform allows people to express themselves, record and share their lives. Users can find all kinds of short videos including beauty & makeup, puppies, gaming and daily life. Creators are provided with tons of trending music, filters, special effects and 3D stickers to easily create unique short videos.


Alipay is the most popular mobile payment service in Asia. Everyday, millions of transactions are processed using Alipay in China. Mobile users can use Alipay’s digital wallet on their smartphone to quickly and conveniently make payments in-store, online, and transfer money. Along with the payment function, Alipay also provides local life services, such as buying film tickets, booking restaurants, ordering food and so on. It is an indispensable mobile app if you live in China!


Xiaohongshu (also known as RED) is an Instagram-like platform combining elements of a social network and an e-commerce platform summarized under the company’s “community+e-commerce vision.” The platform blends shopping, user-generated content and reviews. Fashion, food and travel are the most trending topics in the community. Due to the rise of livestreaming popularity in China, Xiaohongshu has opened a livestreaming function.


Tencent QQ is WeChat’s older brother. The instant messaging platform was initially released in 1999, offering online messaging, gaming, music, shopping, microblogging, and more. Though WeChat has been the most used chat software, QQ still has about 800 million monthly active users.


Taobao, similar to eBay or Amazon, is the biggest online shopping app in China, founded by Chinese multinational e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group. Referred to as the Almighty Taobao in China, you can buy almost everything here, such as food & clothes, cosmetics, plane tickets, Netflix accounts, groceries, as well as some unconventional items, such as giant cruise ships, sex dolls, plastic surgery kits, and so on. It seems everything is available on Taobao.


Baidu is often dubbed the Chinese Google as it is the dominant Chinese internet search engine. Baidu offers a range of products including websites, audio, images, language translator, maps, news, video, encyclopedia, and online TV. In China, you will need the Baidu mobile application to search for information.