14 Best Free Resources to Learn Chinese Online in 2024

You can learn Chinese online for free without compromising on quality.

Don’t believe me?

Check out these 14 resources to learn Mandarin online for free courtesy of the internet.


1. Duolingoduolingo logo

What you’ll get: Free gamified Chinese lessons

Website | iOS | Android

Not only is Duolingo more affordable than a Chinese course at your local college, but it’s also more entertaining, too!

Duolingo teaches Chinese through gamification. By memorizing vocabulary and answering quiz questions correctly, you earn points to unlock new categories and reach new levels.

This app focuses exclusively on vocabulary, and it divides words up into topics like school, work and food.

It’s fantastic if your main goal is memorizing vocabulary and characters. But if you want to focus on skills like listening comprehension and speaking, I’d recommend downloading one or two more apps to accompany Duolingo.

You can check out our full Duolingo review here.

2. FluentU

What you’ll get: Fun-filled free trial with authentic Chinese videos

Website | iOS | Android

FluentU is an immersive language learning program that uses video clips from authentic Chinese media to teach you new vocabulary and grammatical structures.

You’ll learn new words and expressions as they’re actually used by native speakers while being entertained by scenes from Chinese TV shows, movie trailers, news segments and more.

Each video comes with interactive subtitles available in Chinese, pinyin and English. As you watch, just hover over any unfamiliar word in the subtitles to see its translation, part of speech and a corresponding image. 

FluentU Chinese Clip

You can also click on the word to see example sentences and other videos where it’s used. Then you’ll review these new words with flashcards and personalized quizzes. 

While the FluentU program is available through a subscription, you can try it out for free before subscribing

3. Skritterskritter logo

What you’ll get: Free Chinese character writing practice

Website | Android

Unlike romance languages, Chinese involves learning characters. Recognizing characters can be tricky, but learning to write them (and the correct stroke order) is another ball game.

Skritter’s main goal is to help you learn to write Chinese characters correctly. It’s basically like having a writing coach in the palm of your hand.

You can try Skritter out on the website for free, and the app is also free to download. If you decide to use Skritter long-term, you can sign up for a membership.

4. YouTube youtube logo

What you’ll get: Free Chinese videos

Your options with YouTube are practically endless!

There are dozens of high-quality YouTube channels that are made for people learning Chinese.

Watching YouTube videos is also a great way to improve your listening skills. Plus, many channels teach you about Chinese culture, a crucial but underrated part of learning a language.

Not sure where to start? Meet some of my favorite Chinese teachers and vloggers!

  • Foreign on Campus: This channel is geared toward Chinese-language students and Chinese-American people. The videos combine English and Chinese, and the creators provide English and Mandarin subtitles for everything. It’s the perfect channel for beginners.
  • Krysti Naaa: One of the most addictive genres on YouTube is makeup tutorials. That’s Krysti’s specialty, so if you’re obsessed with creating the perfect smokey eye, you’ll like her channel. She also produces funny videos on topics I never would have thought of, like reviewing Costco foods. As such, Krysti’s videos are probably best for advanced learners.
  • Mamahuhu: Follow a multicultural group of friends who live in China and provide commentary on the culture. Mamahuhu videos are mostly in English, and when people do speak in Chinese, they provide English subtitles. That makes the channel great for beginner learners. However, it’s also enjoyable for intermediate and advanced learners to watch because they can learn a lot about Chinese culture.

I also recommend browsing Youku, China’s answer to YouTube. Full of Chinese videos, a learner can easily find something interesting to watch and learn Chinese in a more entertaining and fun way.

5. AsianCrush asiancrush logo

What you’ll get: Free online Chinese movies

Website | iOS | Android

Finally, a way to watch Chinese movies that’s truly free!

You don’t have to pay to watch movies on AsianCrush, which gives you access to films from all over Asia.

Looking for a dramatic watch that’s not so dark?

Watch “Switch of Fate,” a TV show about two women who were switched as babies—and the switch had some pretty huge consequences.

6. Anki anki logo

What you’ll get: Free spaced repetition software flashcard app

Website | iOS | Android

Flashcards are nothing new to Chinese learners, but this program is probably the most effective.

Anki uses the spaced repetition system (SRS) to help you rapidly learn a large number of Chinese characters.

You can easily search for premade HSK decks to review characters at your current learning level, or make your own decks each time you learn a new word or complete a Chinese lesson.

We also have an in-depth guide on how to use Anki effectively, which you can check out here.

7. Spotify spotify logo

What you’ll get: Free Chinese music

Website | iOS | Android 

There are numerous reasons to listen to Chinese songs!

Learning through songs can push you because a sentence can sound completely different when it’s sung than when it’s spoken.

If you don’t already have a Spotify account, you can create one for free, as long as you don’t mind the occasional advertisement.

You can create your own Spotify playlist with any songs you like. But if that sounds like too much work, there are some great pre-made Chinese language playlists:

KKBOX is a fantastic tool for finding lyrics to Chinese songs. You can also translate them into English, which is super helpful for beginners.

8. Courseracoursera logo

What you’ll get: Free Chinese courses

Website | iOS | Android

Coursera is one of the best websites to learn Chinese, as it connects you to university courses worldwide.

It offers tons of free courses taught by top instructors from prestigious academic institutions.

You can audit classes, enroll in specializations, earn professional certificates or even work toward an online degree.

Coursera offers many free Chinese courses through Peking University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. (If you’re a beginner, I recommend starting with Chinese for Beginners.)

You’ll find courses for beginner, intermediate and advanced students. You can also enroll in classes targeting specific HSK levels or take ones focusing on Chinese characters.

Coursera’s courses are fairly flexible. Assignments have set deadlines, but if they don’t work with your schedule, you can request to move them.

9. Pleco pleco logo

What you’ll get: Free dictionary app with example sentences

Website | iOS | Android

This app is free for Android and iOS smartphones and is one of the best Chinese dictionaries on the market.

It’s effortless to use, and words can be entered in several ways.

Pleco also features useful audio, allowing you to hear the pronunciation of the word you have looked up. And each word comes with example sentences and usage notes.

You can also add words you look up to flashcard decks in the app.

10. MeetUpmeetup logo

What you’ll get: Free local Chinese language exchanges

Website | iOS | Android

Chinese tutors are great, but you have to pay for them. A fantastic alternative is pairing up with a language partner.

You could pair up with a Chinese person learning English and spend 30 minutes speaking in Chinese, then 30 minutes in English.

You could also find another English speaker who’s studying Chinese and meet to practice together.

In both cases, it’s helpful to find someone whose language skills are about as far along as yours.

Try creating a free Meetup account for your city. If there isn’t already a group for language exchange partners or people studying Chinese, create one yourself and wait for people to join!

11. ArchChinese archchinese logo

What you’ll get: Free Chinese exercises

This is a freemium Chinese learning site with many good resources, even for non-premium users. 

I particularly appreciate their free Hanzi Grids and the Mandarin Chinese Tone Drill game.

As a beginner Chinese student, nothing was more difficult for me to grasp than tones. After a few weeks, I could finally identify my teacher’s tones when reading texts aloud. But if we went off script, I had no idea.

I wish I had known about the Mandarin Chinese Tone Drill then.

The game randomly selects Chinese words and makes you identify which tones it’s using. Beginners can start with single-syllable words and move onto multi-syllable words as they grow more confident.

12. MandarinXedx logo

What you’ll get: Free Chinese courses

This edX offshoot provides several free online Chinese courses. You can audit the courses for free or pay a fee if you want to receive a certificate.

Courses are self-paced, so you can easily fit them into your schedule.

Here’s the list of free edX Mandarin courses:

  • Mandarin Chinese, Levels 1-3
  • Mandarin Chinese Essentials
  • Mandarin Chinese for Business

The Mandarin for Business is a professional certification program, but you’ll have to pay several hundred dollars for this course.

13. MyLanguageExchange.commy language exchange logo

What you’ll get: Free online Chinese language exchanges

Striking out when it comes to finding someone to meet with in person? That’s what your computer is for!

On this website, you can search for a partner who speaks Mandarin and is looking for someone to speak English with them. Everyone creates a profile, so hopefully you can find someone you really click with.

You might also be able to find a Facebook group dedicated to Chinese-to-English language exchanges, especially if you live in a big city.

14. BBC Chinese bbc logo

What you’ll get: Free online Chinese video and text lessons

The British network BBC has a superb program of Chinese lessons available online.

Their lessons—which are mainly based on text and video combinations—are arranged in an easily-accessible, long-term lesson plan, supplemented with the broadcaster’s own Chinese language news content.

BBC has also built a fun game to help learners master the five Mandarin tones.


You’ve got your free resources.

You can tuck your wallet back into your pocket, safe and sound.

Now there’s nothing stopping you from learning Chinese!


And One More Thing...

If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.

FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.

FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.

FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.

FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.

The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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