China has an online-to-offline industry like no other. With the huge amount of money pouring into new apps and people available to work for very little money, you can get almost anything delivered to you cheaply and fast, if you live in one of China’s major cities. Here are 5 things you can have brought right to your door that will change the way you live in China.
*Unfortunately, you will need to be able to read Chinese to use these apps. Check out our article on how to translate from Chinese to English on your smartphone.
1. Home cooked meals
For every expat wearily trudging home from work every evening to the enticing smells of home-cooked Chinese food wafting from their neighbors’ apartments, the Home-cooked app is a lifesaver on those busy weeknights. It allows you to order home-cooked meals straight from your neighbors’ kitchens and have them delivered to your home, usually by the cook or a member of their family. Categories range from every kind of Chinese food, to Korean and Japanese cuisine and even “weight-watching” and “beautifying” meals. Just be sure to read the reviews and avoid those cooks who use human hair as an ingredient.
2. Fast food
Got a burger craving but you’re surrounded by noodle restaurants? Alibaba’s Koubei app can fix that. With fast food chains like KFC, McDonald’s, and Pizza Hut all on the platform, you can have your comfort junk food delivered right to your face. Simply enter your name, phone number and address on the app, and it will show you all your options, with the earliest time the restaurant will be able to deliver your food. If you’re the impatient sort, you can follow your delivery person with the app’s location tracking feature, which tells you where your order is and the estimated delivery time.
Pharmacy apps like Qumaiyao are coming to the rescue for people engaging in nighttime activities. Qumaiyao offers nighttime rush delivery and one to two hour delivery for essential equipment like condoms and lube, so you can keep it fun and safe. But this app is not just for people who forgot to bring condoms to their Tinder dates. You can also get cold medicine, topical medication, vitamins and other over the counter drugs, as well as personal care products like toothpaste and wax strips on the app. So next time you’re home sick with the flu, don’t worry – you can order tea, honey, and cold medicine right from your bed. Too bad they don’t deliver chicken soup as well.
4. Toilet paper
According to a story posted on the Shansong app’s Weibo, a “Mr. Wang” was stuck in a public toilet in Beijing because he had forgotten to bring toilet paper. Remembering the app, Mr. Wang used it to request that toilet paper be brought to him from a nearby convenience store, and a delivery person showed up in just a few minutes. Although this tale should probably be taken as a marketing ploy and not as a true story, it’s theoretically possible to do this via Shansong, which promises to respond within a minute after orders are placed, be at your door in 15 minutes, and deliver within an hour, as long as the destination is within 10 km. At the end of their post, Shansong asked customers to send them their most personal requests and vowed to fulfill them.
If you’re a lazy sack of dirty socks and underwear, just like the one you have in the corner, you can have someone pick up your laundry from your home and bring it back clean, using the Tencent-backed eDaixi app. Starting from nine RMB per clothing item and RMB 99 for a bag of laundry, eDaixi promises to bring back your stuff, washed and ironed, within 72 hours. It does pickups and dropoffs from 10:00-24:00, and also cleans shoes, furniture, air conditioners, and handbags, so you can stay on the couch with your Mad Men TV series on Youku.