Expats Guide~ How to Setup and Use WeChat or Alipay in China on Mobile or Desktop Device

Metro top-up card machine>Metro top-up machine>Metro top-up card machine

wechat balance checker Machine

Wechat balance checker Machine

metro top up machine

Top up Machine at Metro stations

Introduction to payment Structure and options in China



How to~Top up a Metro Card and Buy things in China

China is a fast-moving high technology country, contrary to what westerners may think, the infrastructure in mega-cities, which are many and steadily growing, and is groundbreaking in speed, this is, of course, interrelated with finance, social media and eCommerce methodologies and policies

credit cards were never a big thing here in China and banks Only issued debit cards that allow you to withdraw what you had in balance, a safety feature and a shrewd move you can say. When it comes to money and business matters, no one has the drive, passion and hard-working approach to achieving as the Chinese do.



Paying with your phone on the metro turn-style

Expats Guide~ how to Setup and Use WeChat or Alipay in China on Mobile or Desktop









WeChat on desktop



We-chat accepted on mobile < Wechat cannot be run as an independent desktop-only app, ONLY with the mobile device as the prime host, this then allows the user to log on to a desktop device by downloading the app to the DESKTOP>






Two Easy alternatives to Conventional PAYMENT

accepted desktop to mobile

When in China there are Two easy alternatives to the conventional payment system these allow ways to top up your metro card and more

  1. using the credit [ Top-Up] machines in Metro stations, Lay flat [any side] your card in the right side window slot,
  2. Press the green iron of 4 showings on the screen
  3. select payment type, I.e. cash, bank card, we chat QR scan
  4. amount ENTER, I.e. 50/100/150 RMB [yuan]
  5. light in a green compartment with your card goes out, REMOVE CARD- DONE
  6. Another machine alongside can reveal the balance just by putting in the card – or
  7. swipe your card on the ‘Enter’ machine and they will display it
  8. go to counter and say ”duo shao qian ka” [how much on card]




payment options types in china

Pay at till and metro machines


  • Another OPTION ! but should your phone fail or have POWER problem Your screwed! as below
  • From mobile WeChat have the app ready to scan bar-code to pay at machine on entry and exit
  • How to top up my Metro travel card and more in China? Let’s consider this too!



Scan the QR code at the metro station 

mobile payment method China

money and payments china

These are easier than cash and international credit cards, [which would have additional charges for usage] we all want easier options and here expats can pay for just about everything in China using these ”TENCENT” payment apps


WeChat Payment App

Using china’s payment apps


A Chinese bank account is a must:

To enable mobile payment apps, you can apply for a Bank account but only if you are likely to have a long-term status, business or working for example, 6 months plus

The process is now effortless than I remember in the early days, with English-speaking counters and just providing a passport, police registration sometimes, address in china and documents to complete with guidance

WeChat for Social entertainment/ POS transactions/Taxi/Food/Transfers/Red packets friend transfers /e-commerce/games and more

Alipay is an equally popular payment method using a similar functionality and options


Alipay Payment App

another popular payment system in china

Mobile payment apps

allow you to pay for utilities, taxi, shopping malls even use China’s pas as-you-go, bike-sharing programs with a simple scan it’s the new e-commerce currency and social payment medium

Mobile registration:

New card or lost card is also available ~ here are the steps I have tried and it works, folks




Procedures to Registration from a Mobile Phone


Mobile User registration Route

Mobile User registration Route

Mobile User Registration Route>Mobile User Registration Route

So now you are ready for your trip to china:

just need your good lady and a fortnight holiday for the best experience

In many parts of China, you will be able to use these apps maybe in cone areas will require a different local card but will be linked to your Chinese bank account.







 E-commerce online websites will give you full access:


Purchasing Online

and their process are seamless as you would expect, a delivery is confirmed when the recipient receives the product in each case from collection boxes, this service provides a simple system of designated collection boxes installed near high-rise blocks and home entrances where security is prevalent, these units of disposal and collections are huge wall boxes with compartments for each person, then a received texted of we-chat message that the item has arrived and given a code


With this code on your phone you enter it to the electronic secured boxes, the door pops open upon code entry.

The supplier is undated and it completes the delivery process

these boxes come in different colors from Green to yellow and red representing the various company’s business.



Recently I found that online food purchasing of ready-made meals are very popular, where you can buy online from app or computer with huge listings of cuisines and listings from the comfort of your home,

The Companies have set rigid standards to delivery times for their workers, monitoring of delivery lateness means a penalty to the delivery guy/woman

The quality from my experience is good and does not disappoint in the main, other purchases are



Chinese General didi2


The DIDI app is super useful for those late night early morning after club and bar trips, or arriving at at the airport and pre- ordered your service taxi.

Again the payment is via Wechat and Zhi fu bao [ alipay]  which are super easy to use once you are familiar with the step by step process.

Chinese General didi







Recent news suggests incredible swing to the newest modern payment system by many in China

76.9% Chinese Use Electronic Payments, over 45% Invest in WMP’s

E-commerce and electronic purchasing is a big step in China, this has made it so easy for every one Chinese and foreigners to travel the country with freedom without the worries of carrying cash, credit cards, least of all carrying these irritating loose change you can do nothing with.


This is simplicity personified and wow eating, drinking, shopping malls, and travel tickets are a pleasure to manage now. It would not surprise me if, in the coming future, china decides on Crypto-currencies this will be the next big step, to exchange currencies and purchase on the fly.

Once you are in this system everything runs like clockwork [pending no unforeseen glitches] There is something strangely compulsive about buying now as the ease of use is an experience to behold

Banks will bring an easier means of transfer in international currencies, through a process or none laundering steps.

With the Greater Bay Initiative development which is underway, everything is gearing up to ease of use, internet, and better e-commerce country readiness.


Good news:

Though I have not used this system for international cards

I have been advised that WeChat now accepts international cards and accounts


What this means is simple:

  • None fussy transactions
  • no exchange of coins and dirty Fiat money
  • It reduces waiting at checkouts
  • online purchases are smooth and with returnable agreements
  • Travel tickets and Activities are a breeze
  • in a nutshell, it’s the way to go, and it is here now!

So Now then!

  1. What did you think of this Post did it deliver?
  2. Was this information clear for your travel use
  3. Was it of particular interest to you?
  4. Would you consider learning Mandarin
  5. Is China worth a visit?

Dont mess with Bruce

It would also be great to hear your ideas or questions

Drop me a short line below





Beyond Economy, New China’s Changing Dynamics, Work and Social Attitude




Attitudes in China


Beyond Economy, New china’s changing Dynamics work and social attitudes

Chinese are friendly people and will assist you as best they know, family values of children and grand parenting is still strong and solidly in place, they are unassuming, shy and sometimes on areas reserved


The man, woman, family expectations defined and responsibilities set, they regard children as their future, and work to maintain equilibrium, Divorce is regarded as a ”no go”,  and women are left with a comfortable fail-safe in such circumstance where kids are involved.


Community interaction is a regular occurrence and seen everywhere in the early mornings and evenings, these events and sharing are functional and a social building block, Gardens, parks and even balconies are in full use with exercises and voice soundings, Tai-chi, Latin dancing and Kung~fu are main stays, however kite flying, and modern dances are favorites too
They greet foreigners with a hello and goodbye, sometimes engage in dialogues though briefly.





On some occasions I witness unsolicited, intrusion of a conversation by a newcomer

The intrusion is brief, and some response made, however if it continues or perceived as intrusive and or driven unwanted, a disconnection immediately brought int play against the perpetrator this comes by ignoring all further discussion or dialogue, even a blocking body position is taken, even moving cups or food in and distinctive ”leave me alone” action I have experienced from afar, however, Never voiced in irritation or anger, just deflective action and none committal.







Today I had another situation sitting immersed in my work, when a young lady a few tables away came into view and constantly, deliberately, tried to make eye contact and waiting for a response somewhat unsure but primed for one.

After a few minutes I smiled back and waved saying hello, this made her day and there was a clear appreciation of this simple action and acknowledgement. Moments later she collected her things and gave a positive than before waved back saying goodbye.

As you can see Two different scenarios with complete opposite outcome


On opening the local website account in Shenzhen to see what has been happening and news on new trends, I came across an advert that popped up saying

Language exchange needed, curiously I proceed to read and investigate, why not! After all my Chinese mandarin needs improving and I could teach too –




After that response I have since received several more from different sources like schools and private family offers to teach their students or children ”All asking when I can begin”? So there is work if you are willing to do so here in china 

Child's art of the World

Art form a certain child’s perspective


My Turkish Flat sharing buddy suddenly broached a subject he has been evading for years, this was because of family expectations and values being of a certain Muslim religious following. Also, traditional values and marry into the level accepting to the family requirements.




A Couple's plans for TYING THE KNOT and long term Plans and travel


He brought me into his confidences telling me and asking me how best to offer marriage invitation to his long-standing relationship Chinese girlfriend, another important and unexpected bit of news to me.


His resolve comes as he is embarking on a mission with her to travel south Asia, this was to break away from the current job and I suspect mundane routine he has endured since arriving in China some 5 years previously.


Therefore, it comes as a logical alternative to saddle up and make new tracks. They have also done some debating and decision-making on how to survive and travel for a period of 1 year.


A new venture involving a brand new ideology and product for sales on the internet and B2B Amazon. The product is a little unusual as it is a Black and White Cow, imbued with choice oil scents for calming and therapeutic purposes.


Some designed for in-car use, others for In- house and attachments to accessories like bags and such like.

It has Niche’ potential and possibilities; the idea to organically start this and develop the idea ground up is key to reaching their goal. The creativity and passion is clear in this project


He wanted to ask her hand in marriage, so our discussion shows he is unsure of his family’s acceptance.




All the same, they now set the path and resolution to return to Turkey on a 3-week break this August, breaking the news and proposal to his girlfriend and family there and then. >

That would be a sight to behold how the family and Girlfriend will react to the news.



I had VIA LinkedIn and prior to my return to China a connection who was interested in meeting me to discuss some business ideas, on my arrival we met she was deliciously beautiful and we hit it off immediately.


Rather, strange for Chinese as they gear the culture up to weary of foreigners initially until they are familiar, feels confident and safe. So we have more to discuss and plan in terms of routes to work together, PERFECT!



In China ‘‘WeChat” [Tencent application] has incredible use, it is the social and payment medium which stands above the others; it is popular and has many features, video, photo, payment structure, send and receive red packets, a special time and cultural event.

WeChat is the primary form of payment for everything, I find this system so convenient and eases fussy and cumbersome credit cards and cash transactions, just have your phone QR code scanned and payment direct from your bank account in seconds completed?





Again I had the experience of my WeChat being asked to add a person and rarely used after a polite ”HELLO’ or few short words, Chinese like we-chat and promptly proceed to scan and add you. I only recently received an explanation to this Odd situation.

It is also strange, when you accept an invitation I receive a reply and then nothing for weeks or months, Chinese claim that as a new friend they will contact you when ready or necessary, only family and friends frequently communicate



Arranging / Planning Anything


Friends birthday in KTV entertainment setting

Friends birthday in KTV entertainment setting

In social meet-ups and arrangements
It is then most stressful situation arranging and having Chinese to arrive on time or even arrive at all, this seems to be the only constant you can expect!

I have arranged as did my friends frequently to meet for KTV or Karaoke, and we make it clear days before, Even on the day WHAT, WHERE ,HOW, even a Map of the location, only to find over 50% not arriving, or calling on the ”witching hour” that family or sickness had occurred preventing them from being there.

And if you were to ask directions, beware expect to be hours later or possibly no finding what you are looking for. But with MAP Apps this is a godsend

Work – Daily Patterns


My office manager and lunch time

My office manager and lunch time

After some research and discussion with Chinese in the workplace and socially, My questions regarding a normal day routine of Chinese in the city, the responses are clear and direct, standard practice in many from the result of my consensus,

  • leaving home without eating breakfast, then peak period is fraught cycles, cars and buses, and between 7 am and 9 am it’s intense and grueling by train or metro

many will collect on the way from [Bao ting] stalls on the road or small shops, their breakfast. This is noodles with sauce in a seal plastic bag, alternatively they have steamed buns called bao zi, or dumplings called jao zi, they vary the fillings from vegetables to meats, but some are plain flour.


Great bake BAP and meat fillings with hot peppers

Great bake BAP and meat fillings with hot peppers

Meat balls, or fish balls, skewered chicken wings, sausages or Manto, a kind of white or green color compacted bread

In the rush periods everyone is dodging and weaving in the crowds to fill the spaces that appear and get in front. and most times in the summer some will have a shower at work and a change of clothes.

Eating at the work desk is normal and bosses don’t seem set any restrictions, just get the work done, at lunchtime between 12 pm and 2 pm patterns of workers leave the buildings by the lifts which I have experienced and there is always a waiting period.


Stuffy and close with no personal space by our standards. Some individuals will grab a quick snack and return to the confines of the office, eat and then have a 20 min to 30 min nap!


Working Time Serious Monitored 

Time-wasting is not something you see often. They drill staff in offices on rules and operational requirements of getting in and out to maximize time. Some may foreigners find this rigid and inflexible depending on the company and it’s environment.


Employees in the main work past their allotted work hours, sometimes hours past the deadline, then on the metro back to home at distances 1 hr> to >1.5 hrs commuting ride, thank heavens for the Mobile phone, as just about everyone has their heads and eyes glued to a phone, either watching series, playing app games or a movie, it’s a way to pass the time that would otherwise be mind-boggling boring or frustrating.


From my sources, they arrived home by bicycle, bus or car collection at the metro end, parent or wife has food at the ready and everyone sits around the table, followed by some TV shows of a period style, or a YouTube style traveler who gets paid for live events during traveling around china, another is a woman cooking and eating her own dish for a living, the proverbial game of cards or Chinese Drafts or similar but modern equivalent, spend some time with the kids and to sleep, the whole routine begins the next fresh new day!


modern bikes IN CHINA  independently owned

modern bikes IN CHINA independently owned

  • Volume as you can imagine in a city like Shenzhen shanghai Guangzhou or Beijing is awesome and overwhelming but this is how to live is in the busy work schedule and daily life of Many Chinese,
  • Holidays and weekend when not at work is truly a time for enjoying quality time to the fullest
  • Bosses and companies expect and require weekend working at a moment’s notice






Beyond Economy, New China’s Changing Dynamics, Work and Social Attitude!

Odd patterns, unique cultural and social activities and behavior comes into play, the masses have a uniform like approach to situations and routines that displays people and their characteristics on a grand scale, things we may take for granted they don’t and things we wouldn’t even entertain they do and with a certain passion and naivety even immature or childlike quality appear! new things are a must have, gadgets, homes, cars, and games, expressing themselves has become a goal a way of standing out sometimes in a quirky or over zealous display, applying a style, grace and finesse has some way to go and appreciate or understand.




Walking the walk and talking the talk isn’t enough.

The concept or depth and values must come naturally and put into real time practice for varying need levels but its getting there.


  1. What did you think of this Post?
  2. Was it of particular cultural interest to you?
  3. Would you consider learning Mandarin?
  4. Is China a possible destination?


It would also be great to hear your ideas or questions below.



Fly to Kyiv or Shenzhen?




The city of incredible growth and infrastructure, it is said that the Chinese government’s goals on this development of Shenzhen were to overshadow the Hong Kong ”STATUS” of being the ”Hub of Asia” it is also a rumored that a greater plan is afoot to outshine Hong Kong and its semi-autonomous position.

During my 9 + years of living in China, working and setting up a business I have seen incredible changes in Beijing, shanghai, but not so much as Shenzhen City in Guangdong province!



Fly to Kyiv or Shenzhen?

Fly to Kyiv or Shenzhen?


This once wet farmland has grown in stature and recognition in just over 35 years.


Buildings and edifices breaking out everywhere and completed in a miraculous development time period


The Metro

Fly to Kyiv or Shenzhen?

Fly to Kyiv or Shenzhen?The Metro

There are 13 lines, they encompasses the city and like fingers of a tree spread fruitfully in all directions and to the suburbs efficiently.

Quickly and with style and cleanliness. These ultra-modern towers standing over 40 floors for residential and 50 floors for business buildings is staggering!



24 hrs development around the clock 7 days per week is out of this world. You can see workers upon the apex of the building working in pitch dark and only spotlights to guide them.

The attractions for foreigners in business, backpackers, casual travelers, and holiday visitors are increasing by the thousands annually, being 40 mins throw from Hong Kong acts as a perfect spring board to traveling and curiosity from all over the Globe.

Work possibilities with skilled individuals is attractive to Chinese business and new business starters, Shenzhen is the home of electronics hardware devices and furniture reproduction


full-on with more clubs, restaurants, and bars you can shake a stick at and all night too! The added benefits of choosing to live in the city limits or indeed the suburbs is just as easy with the metro system, buses and taxis.

The more significant aspect of this is the costs of living in an apartment, the outer limits are less refined but better rental costs, and then inner city is better equipped newer and more ”Foreigner intended”

life in Shenzhen?

life in Shenzhen?


Interesting places cultural, socially and children drove and provided evenly, seasides and promenade is great on weekends and holidays.


Parks and areas for kites flying, Latin dancing outdoors, skateboarding and libraries are plentiful


Living in Shenzhen

City of shenzhen

City of Shenzhen

Can be fast paced and business orientated during the day but just as full-on also in the evenings relaxing and entertaining.


If you wish it may be gentle depends on your game and your needs it is a place to experience as a traveler in Asia .

Welcome to Shenzhen!

News UPDATE! 2019

You can now fly to Shenzhen directly from LHR to SHENZHEN [stop BEIJING] so unless you want the scenic route through HONG KONG this is another way with fewer worries?





Fly to Kyiv or Shenzhen?


My visit to Ukraine Kyiv, one of inspiration, history, rawness, and strong religious drive, I was there on Two separate occasions and spending 3 months then 2 months.

Each was very different as the weather created very different moods and social situations, in the winter I traveled with my girlfriend saw then motherland huge statue, Golden gate Tourist attraction’

St Josephine church, then Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery or monks tombs walked along the Dnieper River!


National opera house KYIV, UKRAINE

National opera house KYIV, UKRAINE

Watch an opera in the National opera theater.

Kyiv is and was an enormous surprise for me from the point of view I had some apprehension of what to expect

The Russian style buildings and boring Grey sad long faces with bad attitudes, well I was wrong sometimes and it was good to see better things in fact.


Motherland STATUE KYIV

Motherland STATUE KYIV

Motherland Statue

Coffee shops and stalls riddled the pavements CAVA coffee I recalled, McDonald foods tasted better and more varied to what I was used to elsewhere. The selected local food shops we tried were good quality and well presented,


clubs and entertainment were full-on from late to mornings and plenty of choices, some aimed to the richer segment of society and foreign trade, Men’s clubs and similarly placed in strategic locations around the city

English is not a 2nd language, only in hotels and some restaurants when I traveled by myself.


Saint Andrews church KYIV, UKRAINE

Saint Andrews church KYIV, UKRAINE

Kyiv is a beautiful place in the spring and summer, known as the greenest city in Europe it surely looks good with high buildings and steeples from churches soaking up the sun resplendent to see.

If you are into ceremonies and churches or monasteries, this is the place to visit it will awe you with variety and history



My first excursion into the city by metro was one of doubt I never let that impede traveling, the complicated routes of walkways underground is not for the faint-hearted. Trains are old Russian built and very robust which worked efficiently.

I recall a funny experience where; the door closing mechanism worked as in the old movies where someone in the driver’s cabin pulls a long metal lever to make all doors slam together, that’s what it was like! So if you were unfortunate being trapped between these doors it could be painful and awkward.


Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery

Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery or monks tombs

Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery or monks tombs

Christmas and new year!

Celebrations were jovial and vibrant and in good spirits with everyone singing and hugging and special shows in the center of the city followed by the firework display.


many eastern men were standing with flowers attempting to attract women openly in the streets.







Kyiv Percheska Larva Monastery

Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery or monks tombs

Prices are cheap to rent apartments while traveling and then the currency is a good exchange rate to Euro-Pound or Dollar


I enjoyed Kyiv it differs significantly from Cities of Europe


I hope this post has a particular cultural interest and it can energize you to go see China and Ukraine Kyiv, Lviv or Odesa.


just for the sheer experiences and cultural infusion.
it is worth Effort and respectable costs.






These two very different cultures and mind sets are contrasting, yet the family values have some intrinsic measurable parallels looking after family mum father are ingrained in the system. The union of home grown family values co-exist in many ways.

Compelling Country and historical differences are as obvious as Chalk and Cheese, UKRAINE KYIV~ OLD CHINA SHENZHEN~ NEW

The traditional and modern growing mix cities of china for Eastern Russian styled buildings and religiously steeped tradition of Ukraine, Kyiv with elegant Beautiful women

Both are rich in their own ways, it depends on your particular interests and passion


All  comments are welcomed on the short form below



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Backpacking- Insider Tips and Tricks: China Travel Guide 2019

PREAMBLEoutside the city

The idea of backpacking either as a group or indeed singular is at best worrying, not knowing all the facts about your destination, regardless of researching for weeks or months, many of us would be put off just considering a language barrier, cuisine, transportation, or surely health related issues.


how to what if and how much will it cost especially a destination that is not well regarded for its humane values, or caring factor in society. So how to proceed you may ask?


Why Backpacking?         backpack strolling

To Backpack and be adventurous must come from the strength of character, ability to go the extra mile, be adaptive or at least have an open or liberal outlook to life and cultures, most importantly, take that step that will transcend what you already So or experienced in life, that established feeling of safety and security.

We all have doubts that need support with facts and substance of one kind or another, but here is the benefits in this plan to action, that suddenly comes complete independence, decision-making, cultural influence and integration, new friends on the way, experiences of places and unique situations on a daily basis.


Convenience and Costs

Costs traveling and related expenditure is obvious but backpacking allows some flexibility, other than flights, all else is as you choose and find from day to day, like, accommodation in hostel, shared living spaces and guest houses, in cases working and lodgings are possible even in china.

china life

living in china


The other factors include eating light or with ridiculous variety especially if in suburb locations. Cities are also over subscribed with small eateries that have delicious dishes at modest prices. Convenience is never going to be an issue. Buses and metros are pennies ”yuan or RMB” in this case, for trips covering fair distances.




Food Daily routine:Noodles and vegetables

Three meal per day, from early morning,

Breakfast: some Dumplings, soup and some fruit salad


Lunch: rice, pork or chicken stewed, vegetables, and desert of pumpkin or sweet carrot cake, or similar!

  stewed lamb

Dinner: noodles stir-fried with various small vegetables, beef, lamb chili, crispy duck or fish, a Qingdao bottled beer

This was enough to keep me more than satisfied

meet tiger

china-man and beer watch out



Visiting the local markets and places or interests always proved surprising and during the evening in Chinese urban areas the dancing begins, you will find groups in small gardens or open spaces exercising in a variety of ways, I.e yoga, Taiji, traditional dances, Latin combinations, Gong Fu, modern and pop styles all sharing the available spaces.


Anyone can join in and several times foreigners are playfully engaged in these activities. Note though that all this clamor of music is not for the fainthearted, they like to pump up the volume in a kind of competitiveness.







The oriental culture and attitudes to foreigners are one of curiosity, interest, but they are helpful and unassuming, I recall a few times being aided on a bus or metro because I didn’t have the correct change or card to travel and someone stepped in paying and smiling without communication, quite a humbling feeling indeed.


Traveling to china or Asia is a must understand the essence of this world also to find what you really are able achieve, most importantly understanding yourself in these environments and communities. I have no regrets with my stay or experiences over the years.

There really is absolutely too much to see, but go make it happen and feel the differences from the western world and our stayed approach to everything we do and confirm to.


  • Was this Post of particular cultural interest to you?
  • Will visit China in the future?
  • What attracts you if you are considering going?
  • What questions do you have after reading the post



Any comments or suggestions do  use the FORM BELOW!


happy holidays