Moving to China: connecting with Chinese and other expats

Are you moving to China within the next few months and wondering how best to keep in touch with your current and future contacts? Do you have a bunch of questions about the country and would like to connect with locals and other expats for advice? 

Relocating to China is a big step. Many expats turn to social networks, not only to talk with their friends and families but also to get information about China and establish new contacts. Knowing what social networks are popular in China and becoming familiar with them before you even relocate from Turkey can be extremely beneficial. So, what social media networks should you focus on?

1.    QQ

QQ is an instant messaging platform that can be used both on PCs and smartphones. It’s extremely popular among the younger generations, as it not only allows you to communicate through text and video but also with stickers, personalized avatars and chat bubbles.

2.    Sina Weibo

Sina Weibo is similar to Twitter. You can post, re-post, mention people and use hashtags in a similar way that you would on Twitter. And it has a bigger number of users. In fact, according to the BBC, Sina Weibo has 340 million active users, 12 million more than Twitter. 

3.    WeChat

Data shows that WeChat is the clear winner among China's most popular social media networks, with more than 846 million active users. And interestingly, expats in China are more avid users of this app than Chinese! 

In fact, according to recent figures released by WeChat, expats in China sent 60% more messages in WeChat than Chinese people, as well as 45% more emojis, 42% more voice calls and 13% more voice calls. 

So why is this app so successful? As the company describes it, WeChat combines instant messaging with social entertainment. This means that, apart from having text and multimedia messages and calls, the users can also play games, book flights, make investments, shop and even transfer money. And expats make use of this. Six out of ten of them use it for transportation, food deliveries, booking restaurants and hotels and online shopping.

WeChat is also used as an information and advice tool for many expats. According to the Shanghai Daily newspaper, foreigners subscribe to accounts that offer information, community news and advice on several issues that might concern expatriates, such as visa information, education or Chinese learning. 

Don’t forget, if you have questions about China and your future relocation, you can also contact your local Crown representative in Turkey!