Learn How to Communicate Online in China Without a Hitch

How to Communicate Online in China - Dingtalk

As the Great Firewall of China blocks access for many communication platforms familiar to Western businesses and visitors, knowing how to communicate online in China is crucial to maintaining business operations as well as form key new cross-border connections.

Most Western professionals already stay in touch with friends and family using social networking and messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or use a sim card to make international calls. Yet the complexities of international communication and accessibility render many of these normal choices for both personal and business communication more difficult to reach people in China.

Based on our own success with digital marketing and forming meaningful partnerships in the region, China Gravy provides you with the necessary platforms and knowledge on how to communicate online in China successfully and strategically. Continue reading to find out the best platforms for both business and casual communication outlets and how they can work in your favor to establish clear, effective means of communicating with a key market of the globe.

How to Communicate Online in China Utilizing DingTalk

Created by Alibaba, the e commerce giant in China, DingTalk is a relatively new tool for remote work performance. Although initially released in 2014, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought DingTalk to the forefront among messaging platforms for businesses searching for how to communicate online in China successfully and seamlessly.

The popularity of the platform increased by 350% in 2020 and surpassed more than 155 million active users daily during the workweek. Beyond workplace communication, the communication platform has also been adjusted to facilitate online learning options when education institutions were forced to switch to remote lessons.

Beyond basic messaging, conference calling, and voice call capabilities, there are other notable features of DingTalk that make it more functional to communicate online in China. These include Ding Calendar, workplace statistics, and approval aspects of the platform.

Employers can track attendance with clock-in and out features, update crucial client data, view work reports, and facilitate employee-to-employer requests for time off, reimbursements, or other supervisor-necessary business activity.

An Alternative to Slack

For foreign companies more familiar with the offerings of Google and Slack, DingTalk presents many of the similar workplace communication features as these Western platforms. Yet, DingTalk encompasses a wider range of remote communication necessities when it comes to how to communicate online in China more thoroughly using only one platform.

Dingtalk alternative to Slack

Being able to use location-sharing and facial recognition systems to determine clock-in and clock-out times as well as specifically designed features for requests or approval components of teamwork make the process of communication quicker and easier. Many of these features are lacking on the Slack platform and while Google platforms integrate, they still must be switched between and set up to work together.

Other Ways How to Communicate Online in China

Besides the success of Alibaba’s DingTalk, three other leading messaging platforms also make effective options to communicate online in China. Some of the top messaging apps are also effective digital marketing and lead generation tools commonly used by brands to reach potential Chinese consumers in China and in other worldwide Chinese communities.

The popularity of these apps has also led to developments and features that also lend themselves well to interpersonal communication internally for workplace productivity as well as cross-company communication for more effective partnership formation and client connection.


Tencent is one of Alibaba’s largest competitors within the digital landscape of China and the success of QQ as a messaging platform has helped Tencent remain a leader among digitally-focused media, advertising, and communication businesses in the regional marketplace. While QQ is an instant messaging platform, the services have expanded to include shopping, blogging, music, and games. Answering the question “How to communicate online in China” and “Which Apps to use to communicate in China”, QQ can’t be missed out.

Moreover, two of the most unique features of the platform are simple registration and desktop capability. First, a phone number is not required for registration, so businesses from around the globe can still access and register on the platform. Second, QQ has a desktop option that makes it easier for businesses to communicate internally or externally with partners or clients.


Compared most often to WhatsApp, Tencent’s WeChat is a voice and messaging app on a virtual private network that allows for effective communication anywhere in the world. As one of the most popular apps for social communication, WeChat is also used by digital marketers to improve promotional performance with potential and established consumers, with features of the platform such as blogging and shopping extending the platform beyond the capabilities of WhatsApp.

Discover how to communicate online in China with potential consumers for lead generation and other digital marketing goals through the WeChat platform. Once established, WeChat also makes internal and external communication for business operations more manageable from one platform.


As if Tencent has not released enough messaging platforms into the market, the third on the list but still quite popular is WeCom. The platform is an alternative to WeChat Work, initially a mini program designed to work in conjunction with WeChat, but still just as effective as a communication tool. In theory, WeCom is essentially WeChat Work, but upgraded as usage and international concerns over access to WeChat functions have increased.

Side-by-Side: Online Communication Apps in China

In comparison to DingTalk, WeCom comes the closest in terms of integrated business features that improve communication. These include a calendar, file support drive, and team management functions.

Other ways to communicate online in China

One of the benefits of WeCom is that the system is integrated with other WeChat platforms, improving the connection between all contacts. However, DingTalk currently hosts a greater variety of remote workplace functions with the ability to incorporate other managerial and collaborative tasks.

Regardless of your team’s choice on how to communicate online in China with each other and with valued partners and clients, it is important to select a platform that is easy to operate and provides the type of functions needed to work efficiently.

For some businesses, the digital marketing experience on QQ and WeChat may make using WeCom more natural and effective. On the other hand, businesses that need to manage more moving pieces and account for greater internal company operations and complex client situations may find the wide scope of DingTalk more streamline and handy across more tasks.

Stay in Touch with China Gravy

Keeping clear, open lines of communication open for both work and travel is a crucial component for success in cross-border business operations. Luckily, there are a variety of useful messaging platforms in China that allow businesses and individuals to keep in touch in the most effective way. Whether using DingTalk, QQ, or a Tencent platform, businesses can find the right messaging platform that fits their overall communication purpose.

At China Gravy, our professionals provide the services you need to select the appropriate communication tool, get set up for maximum efficiency, and guide you through optimizing the platform for better business communication and growth. Message our experts right away to learn how to communicate online in China for your unique needs and begin experiencing the benefits of stronger messaging channels for your business.

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