Let’s talk about Chinese Apps
Amy Ang dives into the list of top Chinese apps that has been dominating the application market in China in recent years.
One of the Chinese apps featured, Xiao Hong Shu, which can include make up and fashion content for the users.
Hype Issue #55
June 22, 2022
You might be familiar with Chinese applications such as Taobao, an online shopping platform that is similar to Shopee or Lazada. However, there are plenty of other Chinese apps available which I recommend you try.
(Before trying them out it’s important to take note that when downloading the apps I’m about to mention, most require you to set your app store location in China unless otherwise stated in the article.)
- Douyin (抖音)
The first app I would like to share is Douyin (抖音). First of all, you might wonder what the difference between TikTok and Douyin is, because their logos look exactly the same.
(These spot the difference games are getting too difficult for me. I will blame it on my astigmatism.)
For starters, there are slight visual and experiential differences between each platform.
While both platforms have a ‘Following’ and ‘For You’ Page, Douyin has an additional ‘Shop’ page that allows users to buy items they want directly on the app.
The Douyin page (left) is shown to have the ‘Shop’ icon. A shopping page (right) is opened when users click on the ‘Shop’ icon. Screenshots by Amy Ang.
Additionally, unlike TikTok which can be downloaded in 154 countries, Douyin is only available on the Chinese App Store.
There is one intriguing feature that Douyin has– a little notification pops up at the top of your screen to automatically remind you to go to sleep every hour after 11pm. There are even videos on the ‘For You’ page that feature Chinese celebrities reminding users to go to sleep early and stop scrolling.
Everything else is mostly the same. You can save videos to your favourites as well as customise a bio for your account, just as you would on TikTok.
Simply put, Douyin is China’s version of TikTok. Anyone can post on it but its demographics mainly consist of Chinese residents in China. It will also be easier to navigate if you are fluent in Mandarin Chinese, as everything on Douyin is in Mandarin. While the content there is different, the mechanism is mostly the same as International TikTok.
Simply put, Douyin is China’s version of TikTok. Anyone can post on it but its demographics mainly consist of Chinese residents in China.
2. Xiao Hong Shu (小红书)
Pictured above is the logo and colour scheme for Xiao Hong Shu (小红书), as well as a simple look at the interface of the application. Photo taken from cosmeticschinaagency.
The next app, Xiao Hong Shu (小红书), is a platform similar to Instagram. Many Chinese celebrities, especially those who belong to Generation Z, such as Ouyang Nana and Lin Yun, use Xiao Hong Shu to update their followers about their outfit of the day. There are also a number of influencers who use it to share their beauty routines and their sponsored posts. Through analysing the content you like and save, the algorithm can show you different themes, from cooking and food to fashion and make up.
While Instagram might feel overwhelming to scroll through whenever you see influencers promoting products, it feels different on Xiao Hong Shu. The interface allows you to feel more connected to the influencers. In fact, when I scroll through the page of one of my favourite actresses, Zhao Lu Si, I tend to forget that she’s actually doing an advertisement for a shampoo brand whenever she showcases her haircare routine.
I would say that this app is just as, or even more addictive than TikTok, so use it with caution. This app can be downloaded from the Singapore App Store.
I would say that this app is just as, or even more addictive than TikTok, so use it with caution.
3. Jian Ying (剪映)
Pictured above, the app Jian Ying (剪映) and its logo. Photo taken from dnlod.
Now let’s talk about the different kinds of editing apps.
Introducing to you, Jian Ying (剪映), a phone video editing app I often use nowadays. One of my internship interviewers asked me if I knew how to edit on my phone. Yes I do, and I personally feel that this app is better than Adobe Premiere Pro in terms of ease and versatility.
The app can be connected to your Douyin account if you want, allowing you to upload what you have just edited on Jian Ying onto Douyin without having to save it first. This can help to save space on your devices.
The crazy part about this video app is how you can edit your face in the post production stage to make your skin smoother, your chin smaller and even your eyes to look bigger. There are also special effects you can use, such as vintage filters, mosaic effects and many others.
The crazy part about this video app is how you can edit your face in the post production stage to make your skin smoother, your chin smaller and even your eyes to look bigger.
The vintage filters offered on the Jian Ying application (left). The main page of the app features a multitude of features for users to choose from (right). Screenshots by Amy Ang.
Through the app, you can also ‘upscale’ your videos by exporting them at 60 frames per second (fps) even if your original video is at 30fps. You can also turn it into a 4K video even if your footage is only 1080 pixels. Does it work? I can’t tell the difference, but the file doubles in size when you upscale it to 4K.
Jian Ying also provides you with video tutorials on how to recreate certain vlog styles and comes with an in-built screen recording feature and teleprompter. It’s crazy how versatile and feature-rich the app is. It’s definitely a must-have for editing videos on the go. However, as the app’s language is only in Mandarin Chinese, it may be difficult for users who are not fluent with the language to navigate the application.
4. Xing Tu (醒图)
Pictured above is the app logo of Xing Tu (醒图), with its features explained in the examples. Photo taken from MODGAMEAPK.
Another editing app called Xing Tu (醒图), is one of the most mind-blowing apps I have ever used.
Xing Tu is basically an advanced version of Adobe Lightroom, with all the features from Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator in one. You can edit colours, hues and filters. Additionally, it even has a feature called ‘AI Lighting’ that fixes colours for you in one click.
Similar to PicsArt, the app also offers special effects like halo lights, vintage camera filters, as well as a whole collection of free stickers which users can use to decorate their photos.
When I first tried the app, I couldn’t believe it myself. What was this sorcery that I was looking at? You can add makeup to your face: eyelashes, nose contour, lipstick, eyebrows, eyeliner, and beauty marks. Have I mentioned that you can also change your hairstyle with one click?
When I first tried the app, I couldn’t believe it myself. What was this sorcery that I was looking at?
A Tiktok video showing the before (left) and after (right) after editing using the Xing Tu app. Screenshots by Amy Ang from @lly88818881 on Douyin.
Xing Tu is the default app that most girls in China use when it comes to beautifying or photoshopping their faces. Some girls use it to add a whole face of makeup in just a few clicks; doing that on normal photoshop apps can take hours. But on Xing Tu, It takes around 10 minutes maximum. It’s also interesting that in China, it’s sometimes rude to not photoshop someone else’s face in a photo you guys have together. This could explain why an app like Xing Tu was developed, to simplify and hasten the process.
To sum everything up, these are currently some of my favourite apps from China. They’ve proven useful in helping me absolve boredom and make edits on the go, which makes them essentials on my phone. That said, with everyone having their own preferences and cultural norms, you should give them a try before deciding whether or not these apps are for you.