Chinese Online Courses

The Top 21 Chinese Online Courses for Leveling Up Your Learning in 2023

When you set off to learn Mandarin Chinese, you may feel as though it’s not a very clear language learning path. 

Online Chinese courses can often provide you with the direction and structure you need to take your skills to the next level.

But which teaching method is best for you?

Whether you’re a beginner or you’re ready to navigate challenging native material, we’ve curated a list of 21 online Chinese resources that can guide you reliably through your language learning experience and your roadmap towards fluency.


Courses for Authentic Chinese 

These courses teach you authentic Chinese through interesting videos and audio by delving into the culture, everyday expressions and popular media.

Best for Exploring Chinese Culture: ChinesePod

chinese online course

Summary: ChinesePod has a massive library of 4000+ video and audio lessons about the Chinese language and culture. 

Price: $14/month for basic, $29/month for premium 

Given the large number of videos offered by ChinesePod, the lessons are categorized into seven levels, from beginner to advanced. Each level has a set of recommended lessons, but there’s no specific order to watching them.

Each ChinesePod clip is around 10 to 20 minutes long, with the average at 15 minutes. You can find a clip about practically any topic, from advanced chengyu stories and the Chinese interpretation of love to standard greetings and pinyin explanations.

The Basic subscription might be more than enough for you because that already lets you access all of the videos from ChinesePod’s massive library. If you want extra learning features like exercises and flashcards, you can find those in Premium. 


  • Massive library of 4000+ audio and video lessons
  • Covers a wide range of topics
  • Teaches authentic expressions and cultural tidbits


  • No specific order for going through the videos
  • Heavily focused on listening, without developing other skills
  • Too much explaining in English with beginner videos

Click here to read our full review on ChinesePod.

Best for Immersing in Chinese Media: FluentU

Summary: FluentU teaches you Chinese through native media like vlogs, movie clips, and news reports.

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: $29.99/month, free trial available

Learning Chinese from authentic resources can be one of the best ways to master real Chinese. At the same time, diving into authentic material can be overwhelming.

FluentU aims to let learners of any level watch and learn from authentic videos like movie clips, commercials, news and more.

The videos are paired with features like interactive captions and dual-language subtitles. This allows learners to learn as they watch, within the context of native-level content.

The FluentU program also comes equipped with transcripts and flashcards with both audio and video options.  You can also test yourself on your understanding of the vocabulary in each video or your flashcard list with the accompanying spaced-repetition-based quizzes.


  • Learning through real-world media
  • Video clips equipped with interactive learner tools
  • Suitable for auditory and visual learners


  • No feedback from native speakers
  • Minimal grammar instruction
  • Needs to be paired with additional learning materials

Best for Conversational Chinese:


Summary: ChineseClass101 features short videos and podcasts on Chinese, with new ones added every week. 

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: Free, $7.99+/month for paid plans, free trial available is an Innovative Language course that aims to provide fun, culturally relevant instruction to help you enjoy learning Chinese.

The course offers nearly 1,500 audio and video lessons. Additionally, free Chinese lessons are released each week. also features flashcards, printable PDF lesson notes, and a community forum to help you connect with other learners.

Targeting primarily beginning Chinese students, also provides some intermediate and advanced material. If you would like a free glimpse of what the site has to offer, check out its YouTube channel.


  • Many learning paths, flexible course structure
  • Offline and downloadable resources available for free users
  • Plenty of features for vocabulary practice


  • Marketing emails masked as “email lessons”
  • The web program and mobile app offer very different learning experiences
  • Limited native speaker feedback

Click here to read our full review on ChineseClass101.

Video-Based Chinese Courses 

These Chinese courses consist of step-by-step video lessons that you can study at your own pace. 

Best for Intensive Studying: Mandarin Blueprint

mandarin blueprint

Summary: Based on the founders’ experience of becoming fluent in Chinese as non-natives, Mandarin Blueprint uses unique teaching methods to take you from beginner to proficient. 

Available: iTunes and Android (via Kajabi app)

Price: $39/month, $499 for lifetime access

Mandarin Blueprint is a video-based course led by two fluent Chinese speakers that have invented their own patent-pending system to help English speakers learn and retain Mandarin.

Instead of the typical beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons, Mandarin Blueprint is divided into six stages: Pronunciation, Character Building, Vocabulary Building, Sentence Building, Paragraph Building and Story Building.

Unfortunately for iPhone/iPad users, the Anki flashcards app is an additional cost on top of the subscription with Mandarin Blueprint.

However, this isn’t an issue for Android users since Anki is free on the Microsoft Store and Google Play. 


  • A unique take on Mandarin progression, from pronunciation to story building
  • Their weekly podcast addresses questions and concerns from learner emails
  • Offers realistic long-term learning outcomes


  • Doesn’t offer an app option
  • Bonus features like coaching, podcasts, and community forum are very pricey
  • Must be used with Anki flashcards (free for Android users, additional payment for iOS users)

Best for Grammar: ChineseFor.Us

chinese online course

Summary: ChineseFor.Us offers in-depth courses that teach you about the fundamentals of Chinese, up until HSK 3.   

Price: $14.99+/month, free lessons and activities available 

Designed and run by an experienced Chinese teacher, ChineseFor.Us aims to help learners develop comprehensive reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

Along the way, learners study grammar, learn vocabulary through audio and test their learning with multimedia quizzes.

As an added bonus, ChineseFor.Us incorporates HSK levels, so if you plan to take the test, the course can give you a clear direction on what to study and is appropriate for complete beginners through upper beginners.

If you enjoy diving deep into the logic of language systems, this could be for you. If you have no interest in grammar, you might want to choose another course.


  • The lead instructor has experience teaching various age groups from 30+ countries
  • Courses based on studying and teaching university-level Chinese
  • Emphasis on both typing and handwriting


  • The most advanced HSK course is HSK 3
  • Best for academic learners—too comprehensive for casual learners
  • Foundational courses for beginners only

Best for Balancing Formal and Informal Chinese: Yoyo Chinese

chinese online course

Summary: Yoyo Chinese specializes in beginner and intermediate video lessons that are less than five minutes long. 

Price: $29/course, $499 for all courses

Yoyo Chinese aims to provide students with a one-stop study solution. The course helps you learn, practice, test, and review without ever leaving the site.

Yoyo Chinese offers over 1,000 video lessons, along with flashcards and quizzes. Video lessons are brief, so you can easily set aside five minutes per day to learn Chinese.

What I appreciate about the content itself is the mix of proper Chinese and Chinese spoken in real life. It’s important to learn the correct structures before going off and shortening sentences so that you can understand Mandarin in both formal and informal settings.

Courses are available for complete beginners through upper intermediate students.


  • Good balance between spoken and “correct” Chinese
  • Comprehensive courses with clear explanations
  • Motivational and positive instruction


  • No mobile app
  • Too much English instruction for intermediate and advanced students
  • Chinese character courses only focus on simplified Chinese

Best for Advanced Chinese: Chinese Zero to Hero!

chinese online course

Summary: Chinese Zero to Hero! features video courses that span HSK 1 to HSK 9, with emphasis on sentence structures and grammar. 

Price: $9+/course, free courses available

Chinese Zero to Hero! offers several different courses and course packages for all levels of Chinese students.

Courses are video-intensive and focus on grammar and sentence formation to give students the foundations they need to construct meaning on their own. The course provides plenty of examples to illustrate rules and make them easier to apply in real life.

Units are interconnected to form a complete course, appropriate for beginning through advanced Chinese students (HSK level 6 and beyond). In addition, Chinese Zero to Hero! offers over 62 hours of video content dispersed through all skill levels. That’s more than 900 total videos!

Overall, I think that Chinese Zero to Hero! is accessible and fantastic for those who need that extra help with grammar.


  • Caters to all proficiency levels and preps up to HSK6
  • Courses are affordable
  • Less pinyin and English as you move up in difficulty level


  • More grammar-intensive
  • Some courses require textbooks and workbooks
  • No feedback

Best for Live Classes: Domino Chinese

chinese online course

Summary: Domino Chinese is all about video courses that include authentic dialogues in Chinese, with the option to take live classes too. 

Available: iTunes

Price: $3+/month, free trial available

The Domino Chinese course offers over 2,000 videos and 400 text files that are intended to be both fun and informative. Plus, they incorporate real-life interactions with native speakers to make the learning more authentic.

Domino Chinese aims to help students learn the foundations of the language while seeing how they apply it in the real world. 

Rather than learning through themed vocabulary lists, you learn how characters build on top of one another to form new but related meanings. I think that Domino Chinese does a fantastic job of explaining the logic of character structure and definitions.

With 200 hours of material, Domino Chinese is appropriate for beginning through advanced level learners (up to HSK level 5).


  • Learning content based on building blocks instead of rote memorization
  • The course structure helps students reach HSK 4 faster than traditional university courses
  • Option to sign up for a personal teacher


  • Complete beginner to advanced fluency seems a bit of a stretch—testimonials indicate learners also had private tutors that live in China, or already have some exposure to Chinese
  • Downloadable content only available via an app on a premium subscription
  • Need to dedicate at least seven hours a week to coursework

Best for Casual Learning: Udemy

chinese online course

Summary: Udemy has more casual, video-based Chinese courses that are made by individuals instead of universities.   

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: Free to audit, $19.99+/course

Unlike the other MOOC platforms we’ve mentioned, Udemy courses aren’t created by universities. Instead, individuals can create and sell courses through the platform. Because of this, there are hundreds of courses with varying levels, focuses and learning techniques, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from!

Courses are video-based, and many offer several hours of video content.

Beginners can take introductory courses, like Complete Chinese Course: Learn Mandarin for Beginners to learn the basics. Once you have some basic skills, you can take more specialized courses, like Learn Chinese HSK 3 Intensive Reading Course H31001.

Some courses even offer new and innovative approaches to learning Chinese, which uses engaging, fun material when learning grammar and vocabulary.


  • Huge database, high diversity in Chinese course offerings
  • Guided learning but less rigid in structure compared to other MOOCs
  • Great for casual learners


  • Udemy certificates not recognized by employers
  • Not eligible for academic credit
  • Courses are developed by individuals—unverified experience of instructors

Chinese Courses for Listening  

It takes a while to get the hang of listening in Chinese, so these audio-based courses can come in handy: 

Best for Listening Comprehension: The Real Spoken Chinese Vault

chinese online course

Summary: The Real Spoken Chinese Vault trains your listening comprehension through native speaker interviews with different accents.

Price: $87 for lifetime access

The Real Spoken Chinese Vault course is made up of 150 video lessons based on quick interviews with native speakers—helping you become familiar with native speakers while learning different accents—as well as picking up conversational grammar and vocabulary.

The videos afford lifelike conversations with the interviewees, which is a great way to prepare for face-to-face communication. Conversations also involve body language and facial expressions.

Given all the content you have lifetime access to, this video course is a steal. It’s not as comprehensive as some other options on this list, but it’s definitely worth its value. Plus, you can always pair this with other resources if you need writing practice.


  • Interviews feature real Chinese speakers with different accents
  • Gets you acquainted with natural speaking speed right away
  • Content also includes conversation components like fillers, slang, incomplete sentences, etc.


  • Priority on conversational grammar—could have more info on “proper” grammar
  • Mainly for upper beginners and intermediate learners
  • Need to look elsewhere for writing practice

Best for Auditory Learners: Pimsleur

chinese online course

Summary: Pimsleur consists of 30-minute Chinese audio lessons that you’re supposed to watch one day at a time.  

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: $575 for the complete course, $14.95/month, free trial available

Pimsleur has been around since 1963, way before online courses were even available!

At its core, Pimsleur works like a series of audiotapes, with optional supplementary exercises after each lesson. A lesson usually starts with a dialogue in Chinese, after which it’s broken down word by word.

The entire concept of Pimsleur is based on spaced repetition: dedicating yourself to one 30-minute lesson each day, with the next lesson asking you to recall words from previous lessons. 

Pimsleur consists almost completely of audio, so I’d recommend it for improving your Chinese listening and pronunciation. It works great too if you’re an auditory learner who prefers learning a new word by hearing it.


  • Focuses on honing your listening and speaking
  • Teaches you Chinese naturally, with minimal memorization
  • Clear instructions for going through the course


  • No feedback on your speaking
  • Needs to be followed at a fixed pace
  • Doesn’t target your reading or writing

Click here to read our full review on Pimsleur.

Best for Casual Chinese: Chinese Learn Online


Summary: Chinese Learn Online gets you comfortable with listening to Chinese through podcasts centered on dialogues.   

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: Free, $19.95/month for paid plans

This step-by-step course was created by native English speakers for native English speakers, taking learners on a journey from complete beginner to intermediate-level proficiency in Chinese.

Chinese Learn Online aims to give you the skills you need with just 20 minutes of daily study. That’s short enough to fit into a busy schedule but still long enough for some in-depth studying.

Each lesson features a listening activity, vocabulary list, notes and interactive activities such as flashcards, typing tests and sentence-building exercises.

Another huge benefit of Chinese Learn Online is that you can choose between modes, including English, pinyin, simplified Chinese, and traditional Chinese, allowing you to select your learning preference or alternate between the options to get a broader perspective.


  • Courses are tailored to Native English speakers
  • No fixed schedule so you can study at your own pace
  • No long vocab lists, making Chinese learning more approachable for complete newbies


  • Pinyin-only learning mode seems unnecessary—only focuses on pronunciation and doesn’t contribute to the overall understanding of the language
  • Limited exposure to regional accents since featured native speakers are all Taiwanese
  • Limited functionality on mobile apps

Chinese Courses on the Go

If you have a hectic schedule, these Chinese courses have quick lessons that you can do in as little as five to ten minutes. 

Best All-Around Course: HelloChinese

chinese online course

Summary: HelloChinese uses short, gamified lessons to help you practice your speaking, pronunciation and listening.  

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: Free, $8.99+/month for paid plans

If you want a fun and interactive learning experience that only focuses on Mandarin, HelloChinese is the app for you.

Equipped with speech recognition and animated character writing practice, HelloChinese has bite-sized game-based lessons that target all skills—including vocabulary and grammar.

The HelloChinese lessons and exercises under the “Learn” section are completely free.

If you want to upgrade, the Premium plan lets you use the “Train” section that contains extra practice activities. The Premium+ plan lets you use “Train” and “Immerse,” which have interactive podcasts and videos to hone in on listening and speaking skills.

The free plan is pretty sufficient, and the content progression makes it possible to go from newbie to intermediate with this app alone.


  • Free lessons and exercises
  • A lot of speaking practice in addition to pronunciation course
  • Non-native English speakers can change the instruction language


  • Only goes up to HSK 4
  • Extra features and activities only accessible with Premium or Premium+ plan
  • Best for beginners, but also works as a refresher or extra practice for intermediates

Click here to read our full review on HelloChinese.

Best for Beginners: Rosetta Stone

chinese online course

Summary: Rosetta Stone teaches beginner and intermediate Chinese through visuals, repetition and interactive exercises.   

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: $11.99/month, $299 for lifetime access to all languages, free trial available

Rosetta Stone is one of the most well-known language education programs on the market and provides an immersive curriculum that stimulates your brain’s learning ability.

The course offers features like TruAccent speech recognition software, contextual lessons, interactive activities, downloadable Audio Companion lessons and more.

A mobile app is available, so you can learn from your computer or favorite device. Plus, Rosetta Stone offers 10-minute lessons to make them easy to cram into even the busiest schedules.

Rosetta Stone’s main focus is giving beginning and intermediate Chinese students the foundations they need to develop strong skills down the road, so it might not be the ideal option for more advanced students.


  • Immersive learning experience
  • Focus on conversational skills over grammar
  • TruAccent speech engine for practicing native pronunciation


  • Only suited for beginners to intermediates
  • Extended learning tools not available for Chinese learners

Click here to read our full comparison review on Rosetta Stone.

Best for Gamified Learning: Duolingo


Summary: Duolingo motivates you to learn Chinese through games that are doable in five minutes.   

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: Free, $6.99/month for Duolingo Plus, free trial available

Whether used online or via the app, Duolingo is a classic among language students, and for good reason: it’s free! It also offers a fun, gamified approach to studying Chinese.

Vocabulary is reinforced through a variety of activities that put your skills to the test. Plus, Duolingo is broken down into digestible chunks and self-paced: allowing you to study Chinese on a busy schedule.

Duolingo is most appropriate for beginning Chinese students. Because Duolingo focuses largely on memorization, it’s good for learning vocabulary. For deeper grammar structures, you might want to pair it with another course.

While speaking practice is available on Duolingo, I do think there are better alternatives for correct pinyin pronunciation and tones. 


  • Engaging, game-like vocabulary practice
  • Perfect for non-native English and multilingual speakers
  • All learning content accessible with a free account


  • Only suitable for beginners
  • No contextual information or grammar explanations
  • Offline use limited to Duolingo Plus users

Click here to read our full review on Duolingo.

Best for Grammar: Lingodeer


Summary: Lingodeer offers gamified lessons from HSK 1 to HSK 4 with diverse exercises and clear grammar explanations.

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: $14.99/month, $159.99 for lifetime access

Lingodeer courses focus on beginners to intermediates and are arranged by levels, covering HSK 1 to HSK 4. If you’re planning to pick up Chinese for a trip, there’s a separate course for travelers.

What I like about the app is the courses are taught creatively. Each course teaches grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation through diverse exercises like fill-in-the-blanks or rearranging words into a sentence. The app also gives detailed grammar notes, even for beginners.

On top of this, Lingodeer also has a course for learning the top 1000 Chinese characters. You can practice writing them out with the right stroke order on the app and then do regular reviews to reinforce new characters. 


  • Teaches vocabulary and grammar at the same time, with detailed grammar notes
  • Has a variety of exercises including character drills, quizzes, and flashcards
  • Neat course structure so you always know exactly what to study next


  • Only reaches up to HSK 4
  • Courses aren’t consistent, with some courses having more content than others
  • Units need to be taken to be unlocked

Click here to read our full review on LingoDeer.

Best for Advanced Chinese: Ninchanese

chinese online course

Summary: Ninchanese covers HSK 1 to HSK 6 material with 3,500+ lessons that use games and spaced repetition.  

Available: Android

Price: Free, $10+/month for paid plans, free trial available

Ninchanese offers over 3,500 Mandarin lessons for beginners through advanced. And, with over 8,000 characters, Chinese students won’t lack for useful material to study!

Ninchanese is not only fun but it’s also intended to be an addictive way to study Chinese. Gamification and spaced repetition aim to create an effective method of learning. Ninchanese even offers voice recognition to provide you with feedback on your pronunciation.

Perhaps best of all, the material is neatly organized into categories to make it easy to find level-appropriate materials. Complete beginners should use content from HSK1. Advanced students should use the material at the HSK5 and HSK6 levels.


  • Good practice for intermediate and advanced students
  • Sufficient learning content for free users
  • Prep for up to HSK6


  • Slightly too challenging for complete beginners
  • Only available as a mobile app on Android devices
  • Need to request special access if you want to study traditional Chinese

Best for Self-paced Learning: edX

chinese online course

Summary: edX offers online self-paced Chinese courses from actual universities, including Tsinghua University and Peking University.  

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: Free to audit, $149+ for verified track 

The edX website is a massive open online course (MOOC) platform in which real universities and other educational programs post courses that learners all over the world can enjoy.

Currently, edX features eight Chinese courses, including offerings from universities in China, like Tsinghua University and Peking University, and are appropriate for beginning through intermediate students.

These courses are also self-paced, so you move through the material as fast as you want. Perhaps best of all, most courses are free to take. If you want to receive a certificate for your work, however, there’s a charge.

This extra cost also includes access to course materials, assignments, and instructor feedback. 


  • Course selection also includes Mandarin Chinese for Business
  • Professional certification in Mandarin communication is available
  • Affordable university Chinese courses taught by native speakers


  • Graded assessments, certificate of completion, and some course materials only available on the verified track
  • Limited enrollment sessions available
  • Not as engaging or entertaining as other options on the list

Best for Unlimited Courses: Coursera

Summary: Coursera features a huge collection of Chinese courses from real universities, along with courses in other subjects that are taught in Chinese. 

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: Free to audit, $29+/course, $399/year for unlimited courses

Coursera is another MOOC platform where you can find useful Chinese courses. It also has possibly the biggest collection of Chinese courses on MOOC platforms.

All the Chinese courses on Coursera come from real universities, like Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Peking University.

Courses are available for beginning through advanced students.

Beginning students can take courses like Mandarin Chinese 1: Chinese for Beginners, while advanced students can take Chinese for HSK 5 or even try a course entirely in Chinese, like 中级商务汉语(入职与营销篇)(zhōng jí shāng wù hàn yǔ [rù zhí yǔ yíng xiāo piān]) — Intermediate Business Chinese (On-the-job and Marketing).

Courses contain videos, readings, and quizzes to help you along in the learning process.


  • 500+ Mandarin courses to choose from
  • Coursera certificates shareable via LinkedIn
  • Financial aid available for pricier courses


  • Must pay for graded assessments, certificates, and instructor feedback
  • Although cheaper than on-campus options, degrees are still considerably pricey
  • Lack of moderation on discussion boards

Chinese Courses with Tutoring 

Best for Niche Topics: eChineseLearning

chinese online course

Summary: eChineseLearning specializes in one-on-one tutoring on a variety of topics, including business or industry-specific Mandarin and HSK test preparations. 

Available: iTunes and Android

Price: $11+/lesson, free trial available

eChineseLearning is another resource on the list that teaches Mandarin with the help of a tutor.

Out of all the online tutoring services I’ve come across, eChineseLearning offers by far, the biggest variety of courses. From the generic to the highly specialized, you can sign up for anything from test prep to Chinese lessons for adoptive families.

So if you just so happen to be a niche Mandarin learner, you’ll probably find exactly what you need in this diverse course selection. There’s also a free trial and a separate free assessment if you can’t decide between courses.


  • Diverse course options for private classes
  • Licensed, qualified instructors
  • Teachers available 24/7


  • Rescheduling classes is potentially difficult if the assigned teacher is popular
  • Classes can be expensive depending on the membership plan 
  • Lessons taught over Skype, no dedicated online classroom platform

Best for Group Classes: That’s Mandarin


Summary: That’s Mandarin is a China-based language school with both private tutoring and small group classes. 

Price: $13+/class

That’s Mandarin is one of the top Chinese language schools in China, with branches located in several provinces.

They also offer online classes for busy learners and students outside of the country.

You can sign up for small group classes, private instruction, or one-on-one HSK prep. That’s Mandarin also works with corporate clients if you happen to be a business owner who needs Chinese training for employees.

That’s Mandarin is also flexible. If you need to cancel or reschedule a session, just let your instructor know at least a day in advance.

Best of all, the study portal is accessible even after you’ve finished all your lessons, so you can go back and review the learning materials whenever you want!


  • Easy-to-use and convenient online classroom platform
  • Licensed teachers with degrees in Chinese language education or literature
  • Lifetime access to study materials


  • Estimated 128 online classes to reach HSK 4, potentially a slow progression for some learners
  • Immersive teaching style may be intimidating for complete beginners
  • Classes based on China Standard Time may conflict with learners’ schedules

Best for Self-Learning: GoEast Mandarin

chinese online course

Summary: GoEast Mandarin combines video courses that you can study on your own with live classes. 

Price: $699+/course, specific prices available upon request

GoEast Mandarin is a Chinese language school based in Shanghai that started offering private and small group online classes in 2016.

The courses include HSK 1-4, Business Chinese, Spoken Chinese, and Hanzi, which can also be customized.

If you aren’t sure about your level, you can get a free language assessment and learning plan. To see what the classes are like, the program allows you to audit open classes for just $1.

The learning content seemingly places more emphasis on pinyin, which is great for absolute beginners, but it might be encouraging them to rely too much on pinyin. While it is important, pinyin is only good for pronunciation and typing. You need to physically see hanzi to learn the meaning.


  • Teachers are native speakers with degrees in foreign language education
  • Option for a tailored course for specific learning needs


  • Pricier compared to most options on the list
  • Audio recordings in flashcards sound robotic instead of natural
  • Pinyin seems to be prioritized over Chinese characters


These 21 Chinese online courses can help you chart your course toward improving your Chinese skills. Depending on your learning level, there are a host of resources available to choose from with varying teaching methods to suit your needs—all geared towards improving your Chinese fluency!

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