App to connect expats with China launched

A new app, aimed at foreigners residing in and looking to do business with China, and Chinese people looking to do business with people in other parts of the world, held its launch party at the Tian'an Wisdom City in Wuxi on May 12.

The bilingual app, named ChinaHow, aims to help people in China or anywhere in the world to find and communicate with each other, search services and make travel plans, and do business more easily.

“When I came to China in 2009 and found many problems living in Wuxi, I started thinking about developing an app for expats. And now, we’ve launched ChinaHow, an all in one multi service mobile application!” said John Roumeliotis, CEO and founder of Jiangsu Dragon Guest Information Technology Co., Ltd.

John shared his excitement at the product launch party and introduced the app which covers Wuxi, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou at its launch and will add 11 cities including Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Chengdu in September.

Solving major living problems of “where, what and how”, it offers a variety of services to users in three modes, namely the Business Mode, Travel Mode and Expat Mode.

According to Johan Knapp of ChinaHow’s special sales marketing division, they look at foreigners as a whole, not just the expats living in China, but also students, business and leisure travelers as well. He believes ChinaHow will take its place in the world of business and media platforms.

It’s difficult to tell whether the app would be popular or not at the moment, according to Dr Yu Xiaohua. He thought ChinaHow will face a battle from strong competitors such as WeChat and Facebook. He also mentioned that Alphabet's chairman John Hennessy had just announced that Google Assistant had passed the Turing test in the domain of making appointments at Google’s annual developer conference I/O. “If AI product can guide you to your destination, why take the trouble to search in the app?” added Dr Yu.

Considering Facebook is not available in China and the AI application is yet to come, Dr Yu said there may be an opportunity for the cross-culture app in the market.

“It’s all in English and easy to access, it is the perfect app for me,” said Kate, an English teacher in Wuxi, who is among the first users of the app.

However, some Chinese users were more crticial. “I need to click the menu bar again and again to get the right restaurant and most importantly, I cannot share the link to my friends directly. So I would keep using Chinese apps such as Meituan-Dianping for on-demand online services.” said Niu Zheng, who came over from Shanghai for the product launch party.

As it expands in operations, ChinaHow will introduce program updates with new features and keep optimizing and adjusting existing ones. The company plans to organize many cultural events in big cities to promote the app in China and throughout the world.

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