Mainland 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.
For all those unilingual schmos who’ve thought they were telling some lucky foreigner “hey, I like the cut of your jib” in another tongue, but instead said something like “you chicken dance the burning planets,” I sympathize. And also laugh. To make up for the laughing, here’s a tip — a trick app to pull out next time: Sendboo. It’s a free app that automatically translates your “hey, baby” to “olá, bebê” — or into 29 other languages besides Portuguese. Fantástico.
Isn’t it frustrating when you need to reply to an instant message from a friend, but you don’t want to leave the app you’re already in and lose what you’re working on? With QuickIM, a new tweak for jailbroken iPhones, you can quickly respond to messages on Facebook and Google Chat without switching apps.
Whether it’s Facebook, AIM, or Yahoo, everyone is signed up to a service that provides them with instant messaging. Besides a phone call, it’s one of the quickest ways to have a conversation with our fellow man, and because it’s completely free, it’s also one of the most popular.
To make the most out of instant messaging on your iOS device, you’ll need a decent application. We’ve put together a list of the best apps currently available; check them out after the break!