I’m sure you’ve all heard of WeChat and have managed to set up your account. However, for many of you, it may have ended there. Finally, after years of feeling left out of the loop, us “Wai Guo Ren” (foreigners) can saunter up to a till point and nonchalantly wave our phones at the cashier. Has anything been more thrilling than this?!
The Chinese company Tencent announced today that it will be accepting international bank cards as payment through WeChat wallet, meaning you no longer have to go through the hassle of opening a Chinese Bank account. This guide will help you to achieve your dreams of scanning and paying!
A Step By Step Guide to add your Bank Card to WeChat Wallet:
Select the “Me” icon from the bottom menu in WeChat and then select the “Wallet” option.
Select “Cards” from the top menu.
This screen may be different for some of you but essentially you want to select “Add a new card.”
With this being China, you can either snap a quick pic of your card or manually enter your card number.
After this select your bank card. If your bank doesn’t appear go ahead and select Visa or Mastercard (whichever one is applicable) and then credit card (even if it’s a debit.)
You will then be asked to enter all you personal details in the following menu.
Good to know:
If your region is not shown, enter your closest city, and for your phone number it’s up to you whether you use your international or Chinese number!
After entering these details your card should be connected to your WeChat!
In some cases this doesn’t allow you to transfer money from your bank account to WeChat or pay with you bank card. However it does allow you to receive money from others, so I’m sure you can ask your Chinese friends to help out if you give them some cash! Then they can transfer you the equivalent value so it’s available for you to use on WeChat!
For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.
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So I’ve been roped into writing another blog. Last time I was writing about wacky shrimp-charmers and typical Chinese benevolence but I’m toning it all down a bit in an attempt to brandish my questionable cooking talent. However, do not fear these recipes, for they have earned critical acclaim from seasoned pundits such as my ex-flatmate and anosmic sausage-dog. What’s more is that I present an opportunity to make friends with your local veg-stall owner. Just visit every day and say ‘shēng yì xīng lóng’ after you’ve paid and you’ll be friends for life.
Perhaps I should stop flaunting my credentials get on with what you came here for.
Dish One – Egg Fried Rice
‘It sounds boring!’ I hear you cry. “It’s too easy!” you moan. Pfft. Don’t you remember the social sec from that questionable university rugby club telling you not to knock something until you’ve tried it?
- Egg, obviously. You’re going to need 2-5 of these, depending on how much you hit the gym.
- Rice. Try to scale this with the number of eggs you’ve used.
- Some kind of oil to grease your wok. I use peanut oil because it’s the cheapest.
- Vegetables. Normally I go with a solitary carrot because I’m boring, but you should try adding broccoli, pak choi or cauliflower. If you’re feeling really adventurous then add all four.
- Soy sauce, obviously. This is China after all.
- Sesame oil. This is the secret ingredient that sets apart the Jamie Olivers from the normal Olivers.
Start by getting your rice cooker on the go. While she’s doing the hard work for you, chop up your vegetables into little chunks and crack open your eggs into a small bowl. Then, fry the veg in your wok on a medium/high heat in some oil.
Once those seedless fruits are looking nice and cooked turn down the heat to low/medium and throw in the eggs. Be sure to give them a good whacking with a wooden spoon. Beat them until it looks like that scene from Team America when the hero-guy comes out of the pub.
Now you need to add in the rice. Make sure that it isn’t all mushy with water then throw it into the wok. Pour some soy sauce over it and stir it in. Usually you’ll need about 10-20mL of soy sauce, but you’ll soon work out how strong you like your flavours. Finally, pour some sesame oil into the wok and mix that in too. About 3-5mL is all you need.
And voila! That took about 15 minutes.
Dish Two – Chicken Stir Fry
This is my signature dish in China. My old housemates back home in England know how proud I was of my first bhuna and others find my bolognese irresistible. However, China isn’t fond of curry and you’ll pay a lot of money to cook yourself a proper bolognese so I’ll try to keep on topic.
- Chicken. Cluck cluck.
- Rice or noodles. This is a great opportunity because you can disguise this single recipe as two by using either carbohydrate base.
- Carrots. Feel free to add other vegetables but the carrots are the best thing about this dish.
- Ginger. You’ll need about 5cm of this, maybe more. Who knows? You’ll find out how much you like soon enough.
- Garlic. While we’re on the subject, anyone reading who hasn’t been to China might be interested to know that the Chinese like to munch on whole garlic cloves. You’ll need about three for this dish.
- Soy sauce. You’ll work out how much you need.
- Oil. Again, I use peanut oil because it’s the cheapest.
- Honey (not essential).
- Peanut butter (not essential).
- Peanuts (not essential).
Choose if you want rice or noodles. Prepare them but wait until later to cook.
Slice and dice your chicken and slap it into a moderately oiled wok. You don’t want to turn on the heat yet unless you like your chicken black. Wash your chopping board if you don’t have access to another and use it to chop your carrots. Slice them into 1cm thick batons, wash them and leave them aside. Turn on the chicken to a medium heat. Then start chopping up the ginger and garlic into tiny pieces. A big meaty cleaver helps with this. The smaller the better. You’ll see what I mean.
Somewhere in the middle of chopping up the ginger and garlic you’ll hear a mysterious voice whisper in your ear: ‘don’t forget to turn on the rice’. This will only occur if you chose to cook rice. Obey the voice.
When the chicken is almost cooked, which is usually when you’ve just peeled the garlic and ginger, put your carrots in the wok. If you’re cooking noodles, boil the water now.
When you feel like you can’t be bothered to chop ginger and garlic anymore, put them in the wok and turn the flame up high. I try to make some room in the middle of the wok and put them there, adding the soy sauce at the same time. I find that the flavours come out better when it’s been blasted with heat. Leave it for about 15 seconds and then stir it all in. After a few minutes I like to pick the wok up and toss the ingredients up into the air and catch them again in the wok. (I actually do this with the lid on but it’s still good practice). Finally, add a squirty of honey and a spoony of peanut butter. Stir it like that rumour you spread about Tom and Lucy back in ‘08.
If your choice was noodles, start cooking them now. They need about one or two minutes. If you chose rice, it should be cooked by now. Put it in a bowl and add a little bit of soy sauce. I like to add the noodles to the wok and stir fry them with some extra soy sauce.
About now everything should be ready. Just serve it up. Garnish with peanuts to add extra protein and a new crunchy texture.
And that’s it! Another just-satisfactory blog that has slipped through the editor’s occasionally slippery net.
No way, I’ve been in Qingdao for three months already… Time flies as we say. Three months completely disconnected from western countries, entirely immerged in the Chinese culture. Now after three months I will leave China with my head full of memories and amazing experiences!
Since the day I arrived, I was looking forward to go to Laoshan, the famous mountain near Qingdao. Sadly, in January, February and March, the weather was still too cold to consider climbing that mountain, and I was feeling desperate to never be able to climb that mountain. And finally, as the end of my stay drew closer and I resigned to not climbing it, I took part in a Laoshan trip organized by InternChina. After an early wake up at 5 am to get to the bus – Laoshan here we are! Even though the weather wasn’t that sunny, I think it was the perfect week end to go to Laoshan (and not because it was my last week end in Qingdao). The temperature was warm enough to take off our sweaters to climb the stairs!
We went through unofficial trails, in the wild part of the mountain. Thankfully we had a Chinese guide who seemed to know exactly where we were and where we went, he was amazing! And once he even took me by the hand and helped me to climb the stairs (not that I couldn’t have done it myself but it was far easier this way). Mid-April is cherry blossom time! A lot of flowers everywhere which gave me the feeling that spring was finally here. After a lot of stairs, I can say that I managed to reach the top of the mountain (or at least the top of the peak our guide led us to), and I am so glad that I was able to do it!
When I wrote my first blog, I still couldn’t believe I was in China, and now I can’t believe I am about to leave it. Three months, it’s short, but I used all the time I had to discover most of the places that have to be seen in Qingdao and to meet a lot of incredible people. I am so grateful towards all those people who made my stay in Qingdao unforgettable. Thank you especially to the InternChina team in Qingdao, for giving me this great opportunity. And of course, many thanks to my host family who has been so nice with me!
Read more blogs here!
WeChat Payment – First steps
Currently there is a raging war in the field of online micro-transactions. Everyone is speaking about Apple and their announcement of Apple Pay – a system for online payment similar with PayPal. But there are other micro-transaction companies that are already making a move. If you missed the news, the biggest social network in Asia is already offering these features and more to its customers.
WeChat is a mash up between Whatsapp, Facebook and PayPal with 438 million monthly active users. Chinese users already benefit freely from the so called “Quick Pay” (in Chinese “刷卡”, “swipe card”)
Here’s how it works:
Once a person enters their WeChat account in the “Me” section there is the option “Wallet”. Once you click it the “Wallet” menu will open. On the top there is the “Quick Pay” option:
If you didn’t add a card to it, it will ask for your bank card information. We will cover this in our next blog about WeChat and how to add a card as a foreigner in China. The option will then simply display a bar code which a person can show to the cashier in the partner stores. If you have to pay below 300 RMB you simply need to show the code and the transaction is done. If the amount is above 300RMB you will need to enter a secret payment code that you set up before.
There are many companies that have signed up to the WeChat payment system. It is not a surprise that many enterprises in China are already interested in the easy pay system. As the biggest social media platform and still rapidly growing each year, it’s getting more and more important to make the key partnership. Some companies that are already listed as payment partners are as follows:
Chinese e-commerce giant JD is also one of the key partners with Tencent. A shopping feature is soon going to be implemented in WeChat making it a fundamental part of everyday life in China. It will create a virtual shop combining all the partners of Tencent into one massive virtual mall on each person’s phone.
In the next post we will share with you how to create a wallet account as a foreigner in China. Follow us on our Blog page for more awesome news about China each day!