15 Useful Phone Apps in Shanghai

If you are visiting Shanghai soon, you should think about downloading some of these helpful phone apps. They will certainly make your stay easier and more convenient! You can even access some of them while your phone is offline. From navigation, to dining, to shopping, and even language learning, here are a few of the top rated apps that foreigners use in Shanghai.

You will need to keep in touch with your loved ones back home so we are providing you with a list of applications available. Some property compounds can have reception issues so make sure your agent knows about these. If you’d like more information on communication friendly areas and compounds, contact Shanghai’s most experienced agent Adrienne Farrelly at Shanghai Properties at manager@shanghaiprops.com or call her on +8613122810421.


1) Metroman Shanghai
This is the tool for you to get metro information of Shanghai Metro. You can get 5 transit solutions, the metro route map, station map, train timetable, and locate nearby stations. Everything is available in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplied Chinese and Japanese. Simple yet very effective.

2) Shanghai Taxi Guide
This app is filled with over 3000 big, bold-faced addresses in Chinese that show drivers exactly where you want to go. Just enter the English address and the translation is done. This is the ideal app to use for those visiting the city for the first time or even for those that call Shanghai home. Just avoid the communication hassle and type away. Now with fully cached offline maps that can be accessed anywhere!

3) Shanghai Walking Tours and Maps
Find your own way around Shanghai’s most famous and less well-known sites at street level with these self-guided tours. The detailed tour maps and powerful navigation features make it easy to get from A to B, and all the way to Z if you have the energy.

4) Shanghai Offline Street Map
This app is similar to Google Maps but you can access it offline. Here you can use a full map of Shanghai to easily navigate around the city. Even while offline, the app will show your current position on the map in real time. If you want to find a specific location, you can search when online, and bookmark it for later use when offline.

5) Shanghai Stops
Using Shanghai’s bus system is very convenient and cheap but can be difficult to do if you don’t read Chinese. Just download this app and it uses your location to tell you a list of nearest stops and also lets you see them on a map. Search by route number to see all of the stops laid out on a map. You’ll be buzzing around the city in no time!

6) iMapMyRide
The ideal app for biking in Shanghai. This app allows you to track your distance, speed, route and even creep on your other friends with a GPS locater.

7) Qunar (去哪儿)
This app, by one of China’s biggest travel booking sites, allows you to look for cheap domestic and international flight tickets and check the status of flights, book hotels and browse train timetables. It also allows you to cancel bookings, check the price of tourist attractions and call a cab for free. In Chinese only.

8) Uber
Uber’s taxi revolution has made its way to Shanghai. Enter your destination, receive a time and place estimate, confirm it, and a clean, black sedan will arrive soon to take you away in style. It is 3-4 times the price of a regular Shanghai taxi, but that is about the normal taxi fare in other major cities around the world. It really is the first class experience and offers wifi hotspots and smartphone chargers for your convenience. Register on their website and use the promo code: opv3p to get 50RMB off your first ride!



9) Dianping
This app offers you a similar service to Yelp! Providing you with a range of reviews, descriptions and locations of restaurants in Shanghai. The app also has a feature for those seeking an immediate bite – showing highly rated restaurants around your current location. Similar to Foursquare, it also includes a check-in function for its users.


10) Taobao
With the installation of this app, you can really “buy anything, anywhere”. This app links you to one of the largest marketplaces online and you can have almost anything shipped straight from your phone to your door. If you have mastered the Taobao website, you may find the app, especially the iPad version, much easier to navigate.


11) Air Quality China
We all know that air pollution is a major problem in Chinese cities. With this app, you can check the air quality index (AQI) for all major cities. In addition to the AQI, the app will let you know whether the day is suitable for outdoor activity along with an app widget that is automatically updated every 30 minutes for up-to-date indexes.

12) Shanghai Toilet Guide
With 8,000 public restrooms registered, finding a place to go when it is time to go, will never be a problem again. The app uses GPS technology to help you locate your safe haven and let you continue with your fun filled day. Currently, Shanghai Toilet Guide is only available in Chinese (search “上海公厕”or “shanghai gongce”).

13) Driving in China
Get your driving license for 2014 in China with this helpful app! If foreigners want to drive in China, they have to convert their home country license into a Chinese local license. This app allows you to prepare for the mandatory test with 1180 questions to practice with. You can even learn the meaning of different road signs, traffic gestures, and lane regulations. The app exam is offered in English, Chinese and German.

Language Learning

14) KTdict C-E
This app provides you with a comprehensive, easy to use and fast Chinese-English dictionary. The search, reader, optical character recognition, flashcards, and trainer features make it the perfect tool for your study of the Chinese language or your visit to China.

15) Pleco
Pleco is the ultimate Chinese learning companion. The app includes an integrated dictionary, document reader, flashcard system will full screen handwriting input and live optical character recognition. The company prides itself in that its been making the world’s best mobile Chinese learning apps since 2001. Certain extensions vary in cost, but all of them will be worth your while. Students are qualified for a discount.

Please continue here if you would like to read more about useful phone apps in shanghai.

Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or  manager@shanghaiprops.com. Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties


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