WeChat is the messaging app that’s more like a mobile OS

China's WeChat is a messaging app tha offers just about everything, from text messaging to instant payments. It's a monster, with mote than 1 billion registered users.
China's WeChat is a messaging app tha offers just about everything, from text messaging to instant payments. It's a monster, with mote than 1 billion registered users.
Photo: Virginia Werner/Cult of Mac

Made_in_china_bugMainland China is Apple’s second biggest market, and will one day be its first. The company is making a big push on the mainland, opening new stores and investing in home-grown companies. Why the interest? Because China is the new Japan — it’s where the future is happening. All this week we take a look at the cutting-edge apps that define mobile life on the mainland.

SHANGHAI CITY, China — Now that I use WeChat, I don’t need much else when it comes to social media apps. In fact, WeChat has almost entirely replaced text messaging in China. I am able to link up with other WeChat users through their username without providing a telephone number, so it is a great platform for communicating with new acquaintances or people I am working with.

I have hundreds of WeChat contacts, but only a handful of telephone numbers in my iPhone. The app also recently introduced group video messaging and has an extensive WeChat Wallet service (similar to Zhifubao) available to Chinese bank account holders.

In China, the Alipay app is as good as cash

Everyone accepts Zhifubao, China's answer to Paypal, even street vendors.
Everyone accepts Zhifubao, China's answer to Paypal, even street vendors.
Photo: Virginia Werner/Cult of Mac

Made_in_china_bugMainland China is Apple’s second biggest market, and will one day be its first. Apple is making a big push on the mainland, opening new stores and investing in home-grown companies. Why the interest? Because China is the new Japan — it’s where the future is happening. All this week we take a look at the cutting-edge apps that define mobile life on the mainland.

SHANGHAI CITY, China — The common question when conducting any kind of financial transaction in China is: “Cash or Zhifubao?” I have used Alipay in a wide variety of settings — paying for products online or meals at restaurants, sending rent money to my landlord, or squaring up with a taxi driver. It was easy to set up, after I spent all of 15 minutes creating a Chinese bank account at my local branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

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Rumors point to a major Macbook Pro overhaul, this week on The CultCast

The last major Macbook Pro update was 2012...  It's time for something new.
The last major Macbook Pro update was 2012... It's time for something new.

This week, on The CultCast: Macbook Pro’s about to get its biggest refresh ever; Apple’s plans to rival Amazon’s Echo; more great stories from the Cult of Mac; the state of gaming in OS X, iOS, and tvOS; Apple gets serious about iCar charging stations; and we set aside our agendas to discuss YOUR topics in an all-new As You Wish.

Our thanks to Freshbooks for supporting this episode. FreshBooks is the easy-to-use invoicing software designed to help small business owners get organized, save time invoicing and get paid faster. Get started now with a 30-day free trial.

Meet Taobao: China’s bigger faster version of Amazon

Taoboa is China's version of Amazon, but much faster: products are sometimes delivered in minutes, not days.
Taoboa is China's version of Amazon, but much faster: products are sometimes delivered in minutes, not days.
Photo: Virginia Werner/Cult of Mac

Made_in_china_bugMainland China is Apple’s second biggest market, and will one day be its first. Apple is making a big push on the mainland, opening new stores and investing in home-grown companies. Why the interest? Because China is the new Japan — it’s where the future is happening. All this week we take a look at the cutting-edge apps that define mobile life on the mainland.

SHANGHAI CITY, China — Imagine a website where the all the millions of “made in China” products are at your fingertips . Taobao delivers just that, and the app has completely revolutionized online shopping here in China.

Made in China: These apps are killing it on iPhone

Everywhere you look in China, young people are tapping away at apps.
Everywhere you look in China, young people are tapping away at apps.
Photo: Virginia Werner/Cult of Mac

Made_in_china_bugMainland China is Apple’s second biggest market, and will one day be its first. The company is making a big push on the mainland, opening new stores and investing in home-grown companies. Why the interest? Because China is the new Japan — it’s where the future is happening. All this week we take a look at the cutting-edge apps that define mobile life on the mainland.

SHANGHAI CITY, China — Just like their U.S. counterparts, Chinese youth obsess over their smartphones. But while the phones they use look the same, the apps are quite different: China has its own must-have apps that keep users’ eyes glued to screens at all hours of the day.

Some Chinese apps seem quite similar to their Western counterparts, but others boast innovative and intriguing features. Apple’s clearly interested: While slowing growth in China put a dent in APPL stock, Cupertino recently made a strategic $1 billion investment in Chinese Uber rival Didi Chuxing.

What other apps in China might grab Apple’s attention? Tim Cook could start his due diligence with this list of powerhouse Chinese iPhone apps. The country’s young people use these apps to listen to music, make purchases, get around town, interact with others and maintain their online identities.

These Chinese apps are impressive and convenient, and they are showing us the future of mobile: a world where everything is at our fingertips.