The 10 Most Popular Chinese Social Media Apps You Must Try

The 10 Most Popular Chinese Social Media Apps You Must Try

People all around the world are accustomed to logging into their social media platforms on a daily basis, and the Chinese are no different. 

However, due to China's different political system, the country enforces strict censorship on the internet, banning almost all Western social media platforms. If you are unfamiliar with Chinese culture, it's not your fault.

So, how do the Chinese maintain their social lives on the Internet? How can you become a part of this network?

I am writing about this topic because many of my foreign friends noticed that I was sending messages with gifs, emojis, and voice notes through Chinese social media while they were still sending black-and-white text messages. Thus, I introduced them to some Chinese social media platforms that I found interesting, popular, and fun to use, as well as offering them a great and convenient opportunity to learn Chinese.

This article will introduce the top 10 popular Chinese social media platforms and how to create an account on one. These social media platforms are fundamental in helping you improve your reading skills, make Chinese friends, understand modern Chinese culture, and enjoy a better life in China.

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How to use Chinese social media apps to learn Chinese?

Social media platforms are not just for entertainment; they bring many benefits to users. 

These 10 social media sites, including Chinese social media apps, are beneficial for studying Chinese regardless of your level.

1) Practice Chinese in small chunks:

Writing in small sentences eliminates the pressure of writing a long blog post or article in Chinese. 

By taking these baby steps, you help progress yourself 

  • Taking baby steps can still help you progress a long way, such as with posts on Sina Weibo, which are limited to 140 characters.

2) Observe spoken Chinese in written form:

Most people use colloquial language when chatting online. From local and online language to internet slang, using Chinese social media apps like Zhihu are a veritable gold mine of useful phrases

Read what Chinese users are discussing among themselves, and try to learn some useful words and phrases. Even advanced students can discover much they didn't know.

3) Use Chinese in a relaxed environment:

Chatting online allows you to think things through more carefully, improving fluency for future conversations.

Monthly active users on Chinese social media apps make these environments more conducive to practicing Chinese.

1. Tencent QQ | 腾讯QQ (Téngxùn QQ)

Tencent QQ

Tencent QQ Interface by Tencent; Google Play Store

Tencent QQ was launched by Tencent in 1999, and its average daily active users reached 170 million in 2017. Its traditional functions are text, voice, video chat, and release status on QQ space. Now it includes online games, file sharing, cloud hard drives, mailboxes, forums, and other integrated services.

How to use QQ?

Step 1: Download QQ

You can download the application from the App Store. 

(You can directly download it from your app store without changing to the Chinese store). 

Step 2: Open the QQ

When opening the QQ app, you'll notice that it's in Chinese and can't be translated to English. Don't worry, with our help, you can smoothly cross the language barrier. 

The first thing you need to do is accept the service agreement by clicking on the option in the right-hand corner of the pop-up window pictured below: 

Step 3: Start the registration process 

Click on the “Register” option on the home screen. It's the option to the left in the white square! 

Step 4: Enter your mobile number 

At this stage, you'll need to confirm your mobile number so that QQ can verify your account. 

Enter it into the field below, choose your country code from the drop-down menu, tick the confirmation box, and click “OK.” 

Top tip: If you're finding it difficult to choose your country code because of the Chinese interface, go to Google Translate and translate your country's name into simplified Chinese. Copy the translation and paste it into the country code search bar. You'll then be left with the relevant country code to select.  

Step 5: Complete the authentication process

Simply slide the puzzle piece into place using your touchscreen. 

Step 6: Confirm your mobile number 

In the pop-up window, click the option in the blue box to confirm your mobile number. 

Step 7: Enter the verification code sent to your mobile device

Once you've confirmed your number, you'll be sent a text containing a one-time passcode. Enter this in the field below: 

Step 8: Choose a username and password 

Finally, create your username and password by typing them into the fields below. The username goes first, then the password in the space underneath.  Then, click “Register” (the outlined box), and your QQ account will be ready to use.

Step 9: How to create a QQ account in English via the QQ website 

If you'd rather sign up for QQ using your computer, that's fine, too. It's much easier, as the desktop interface is available in English. Hooray!

Here's what you need to do:

Step 10: Go to QQ's desktop registration page 

Now, you can simply sign up for QQ and enjoy your journey.

Remember: By simply starting the process of registering on a Chinese social media platform, you have already learned many new Chinese phrases.

I have used Tencent QQ as an example, now try to register with the rest of these 9 apps and practice the Chinese you learned above. 

If you just want a list of helpful social media vocabulary, go ahead and scroll to the bottom!

2. WeChat | 微信 (Wēixìn

WeChat, launched by Tencent in 2011, is one of China's largest social media platforms, with over one billion monthly active users. This social media offers three core social applications centered around acquaintances: instant messaging, Moments of Friends, and We-Media.


WeChat mobile interface by WeChat; Apple App Store

Over the years, WeChat has evolved into a comprehensive social media platform that integrates various functions, including social networking, shopping, payment, gaming, reading, entertainment, sports, and financial management. It has become the go-to app for Chinese users living in urban areas, making it one of the most popular Chinese social media sites.

As one of the leading Chinese social media apps, WeChat has revolutionized how Chinese people communicate and interact. Its popularity can be attributed to its user-friendly interface, seamless integration of different functions, and the ability to connect people across different regions and cultures.

Whether for personal or business purposes, WeChat has become an indispensable tool for Chinese social media users. As the use of social media continues to grow globally, WeChat and other Chinese social media sites are set to become even more essential for people to connect and engage with each other.

3. Sina Weibo | 新浪微博 (Xīnlàng Wēibó)


Weibo interface by; Google Play Store 

Weibo, often called "Chinese Twitter," is a popular social media platform launched in 2009. With over 500 million monthly active users, it has become one of the largest Chinese social media platforms. It offers microblogging services where users can connect with friends, follow the latest news, communicate with celebrities and influencers, and research brands and products. Users can share text, images, videos, and even live streams, with messages being limited to 140 characters.

Weibo is an essential platform for anyone looking to understand what Chinese internet users are interested in. The platform's popularity has made it an essential tool for businesses and marketers to connect with Chinese users and promote their products and services. Weibo's user-friendly interface, diverse features, and broad reach have made it one of the most popular Chinese social media sites.

4. DouYin | 抖音 (Dǒuyīn)


Douyin by Douyin;

Douyin, a social media platform for short-form videos, has over 500 million monthly active users as of 2018, making it one of the most popular Chinese social media sites. This number is expected to have grown exponentially since then. Douyin is similar to TikTok, also owned and developed by ByteDance.

If you use TikTok, you will find Douyin's interface familiar. Like its international counterpart, Douyin allows users to create, edit, and share videos and live streams that are either 15 or 60 seconds long. With a wide range of music and filters to choose from, users can easily enhance their videos before sharing them with friends.

As the Chinese market continues to grow, Douyin has become an important player in the social media industry, especially among Chinese users. Its unique features and ease of use have made it a go-to platform for short videos in China, further cementing the dominance of Chinese social media in the global market.

Douyin and other Chinese social media sites are also driving the trend of short-form video content, which is becoming increasingly popular among users worldwide.

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5. Zhihu | 知乎 (zhī hū)


Zhihu interface by Zhihu; Google Play Store 

Zhihu is a popular Chinese social media platform that has gained significant traction in the Chinese market. With millions of monthly active users by 2022, this platform has become the go-to place for internet users seeking answers to their questions. Zhihu is derived from the classical Chinese word, which means "Do you know?" and has become a comprehensive Q&A platform where users can post questions and receive answers from the community.

Zhihu has quickly gained popularity among Chinese social media sites because it offers a unique and engaging platform for people to share their knowledge and experiences. Users can like and share answers, which helps to create a vibrant and active community. It's also a great place for businesses to promote their products and services, as users can share their experiences and recommendations with others.

6. Honor of Kings | 王者荣耀 (wáng zhě róng yào)

Honor of Kings

Honor of Kings by PRNewswire, eSports Press

If you're a gamer interested in exploring Chinese social media, then Honor of Kings is the perfect platform for you. This multiplayer online battle arena game by Tencent Games has become a sensation in the Chinese market since its release in 2015. It's not just a game but also a social media platform that enables players to communicate and form new connections while playing. One reason for the popularity of this game in China is its easy accessibility through Tencent's major Chinese social media apps, WeChat and QQ.

With over 100 million daily active users in 2023, Honor of Kings is among the world's most popular games and has become one of the highest-grossing games ever. The international adaptation, Arena of Valor, was also released in 2016 to cater to the Western market.

Honor of Kings is a platform primarily focused on gaming, enabling players to engage with each other during breaks between games. Players can discuss game rules, roles, strategy, and other topics on this platform, creating a natural gathering place for the young generation.

Not only does Honor of Kings offer entertainment and a gaming experience, but it also helps non-Chinese speakers learn Chinese while playing the game. The game is a perfect example of how social media and gaming can be combined to create a platform that not only entertains but also connects people from different cultures and regions.

7. Little Red Book | 小红书 (xiǎo hóng shū)

Little Red Book

Little Red Book; Medium

Xiaohongshu, also known as "Little Red Book," is a unique social media site that combines the features of Pinterest and Amazon. As one of the fastest-growing Chinese social media apps, Xiaohongshu has attracted millions of monthly active users, particularly females, making it a popular choice in the Chinese market.

You will find much user-generated content on this social media, whereby anybody can make product recommendations and reviews. In addition to its shopping capabilities, Xiaohongshu also serves as a hub for social networking, providing users with a platform to share their experiences, travel stories, and beauty tips. It offers a glimpse into the lives of other users and provides a sense of community for those who use the app.

Xiaohongshu has become the go-to social media platform for internet users in China. We highly recommend checking out this really unique platform.

8. Bilibili | 哔哩哔哩 (bīlī bīlī


Bilibili interface; Bilibili

Bilibili, also known as B Site (B站) in China, is a Chinese social media that revolves around video sharing. It has a specific focus on animation, comics, and games. Users can submit, view, and add overlaid commentary on videos, making it a highly interactive social networking platform.

This platform uses Adobe Flash or HTML5 player to play user-submitted videos hosted by either itself or third-party sources, featuring a scrolling “bullet curtain” 弹幕(dàn mù) commenting system. 

With over 300 million monthly active users, 28 million paying users, and a large presence in the Chinese market, Bilibili has become a go-to social media app for internet users interested in animation, comics, and gaming. Its engaging and interactive features make it stand out from other Chinese social media, attracting a younger demographic of users.

9. Meituan | 美团 (Mĕituán)  


Meituan; The Next Billion

Meituan is a popular Chinese social media that primarily serves as a shopping app for locally sourced consumer products and retail services. It offers a wide range of services, including entertainment, dining, delivery, travel, and more. One of its unique features is the "deal of the day," where it sells vouchers for local services and entertainment at discounted prices. 

In 2015, Meituan merged with Dazhong Dianping and changed its name to “Meituan-Dianping”. (大众点评网 Dàzhòng diǎnpíng wǎng, which literally translates to “public reviews net”) hosts consumer reviews of restaurants, similar to Yelp and TripAdvisor, and also offers group buying similar to Groupon.

Meituan became one of the world's largest online and on-demand delivery platforms. It's a platform you shouldn't miss if you live in China.

10. Tou tiao | 今日头条 (Jīn rì tou tiáo

Tou tiao

Toutiao interface; ifanr

Toutiao is a popular social media platform in the Chinese market, primarily a news distribution app. This social networking platform uses complex algorithms to provide users with all kinds of information. By analyzing a user's location, clicks, and browser history, Toutiao recommends each user's best-fit articles and videos.

Its unique approach to delivering news sets Toutiao apart from other Chinese social media apps. In addition to traditional news articles, Toutiao also provides short videos, funny jokes, and featured articles to keep users entertained.

With millions of monthly active users, Toutiao has become a go-to source for Chinese internet users to stay informed and entertained. Its AI-driven recommendation system ensures that each user receives personalized content tailored to their interests, making it a favorite among Chinese social media users.

Commonly used Chinese social media vocabulary

These 10 Chinese social media platforms cover almost all aspects of your daily life. You can finally learn Chinese and live like a Chinese person in China.

See more: How Social Media Boosts Your Language Learning Process.

Here's a bonus for you, a vocabulary list covers terms related to social media.





shè jiāo píng tái

social media


jí shí tōng xùn ruǎn jiàn

instant messaging app


Zhù cè

to register


Dēng rù

to login


Qǔ guān

to unfollow (on social media)


Zhuī zōng

to follow


Yóu guǎn



Tuī tè



Liǎn shū



Wài mài

Food delivery (Take out)





ins fēng



Shàng chuán

to upload


Zàn zhù

to sponsor


wǎng gòu

online shopping


Wǎng  hóng chǎn pǐn

influencer products


Fěn sī



Měi zhuāng bó zhǔ

beauty blogger


Shè xiàng tóu



Shù mǎ chǎn pǐn 

digital/tech goods


Bāo guǒ

to wrap up, package, parcel


Yà mǎ xùn



Chà píng

negative review


Hǎo píng

positive review


Guān jiàn cí



Guān zhù

to pay attention to


Gong zhòng hào



Diǎn zàn

to like (a post online)


Bā guà 



Péng yǒu quān

moments (on wechat)


Xiàng mù



Yǐn sī shè zhì

privacy setting


Píng bì shè zhì

blocking settings


Shōu cáng



Ding yuè



Wēi xìn qián bāo

WeChat Wallet


Zhuǎn fā

to forward


Miǎo pāi

app to record videos

Useful vocabulary for Chinese social media platforms


What social media apps do Chinese use?

There are many social media apps in China, but here are the most common ones:

  1. Tencent QQ

  2. WeChat

  3. Sina Weibo

  4. DouYin

  5. Zhihu

  6. Honor of Kings

  7. Little Red Book

  8. Bilibili

  9. Meituan

  10. Toutiao

In closing

So, that's a wrap on the Chinese social media ecosystem!

We've explored the diverse and ever-evolving Chinese social media landscape, where WeChat, Little Red Book, and other popular apps dominate the scene. As we've seen, these apps have become an integral part of Chinese culture and lifestyle, with people relying on them for everything from communication to entertainment, shopping, and more.

And let's not forget about mobile phones! These devices are the gateway to the Chinese social media world, with most people accessing these apps on their smartphones. It's amazing to think about how much we can do with just a few taps on our mobile screens, from ordering food to chatting with friends and even paying bills.

Whether you're a gamer, social media enthusiast, or simply curious about Chinese culture, the Chinese social media landscape is definitely worth exploring. Who knows? 

You might just discover your new favorite app or connect with someone halfway around the world.

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