The 16 Best YouTube Channels for Learning Chinese in 2023
Perhaps the biggest challenge of learning Chinese on YouTube is navigating through the sea of content.
These 16 YouTube channels are great starting points. Also included are tips for making the most of your video study plans.
Read on for more about learning Chinese on YouTube!
- Our Favorite YouTube Channels for Chinese Learners
- Why Learn Chinese on YouTube?
- How to Learn Chinese on YouTube
- Can You Learn Chinese in 60 Minutes on YouTube?
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)
Our Favorite YouTube Channels for Chinese Learners
What it’s about: EverydayChinese aims to teach viewers authentic Chinese as used in everyday life.
For beginners, the EverydayChinese YouTube channel offers alphabet and pronunciation lessons. It also features a structured series of videos intended to give viewers a strong foundation in Chinese in just 101 days.
For viewers who already have the basics down, the slow listening practice offered through the channel can help make native-level speech more approachable. The channel offers grammar and vocabulary lessons to help viewers advance their Chinese skills.
The video above is a great introductory lesson on how to say “hello” in Chinese. You’ll also find useful videos about writing lessons, tips for everyday conversations, common phrases and more on Everyday Chinese.
What it’s about: Learn to speak, read, write and listen to Chinese with ChineseClass101.
The high quality, well-structured videos on this channel will make learning Chinese a breeze. ChineseClass101 will help you with everyday vocabulary and basic grammar.
Various graphics are presented to introduce Chinese words. Sometimes you’ll see a series of images with the Chinese and English word(s) that explain what’s going on. Sometimes you’ll see a series of pictures and the associated Chinese word followed by a short video of the activity.
Both the Chinese example sentences and English explanations are clear and understandable. Lessons often include a short interactive review section or quiz. In the example video above, you’ll learn to talk about hobbies in Chinese and have a practice conversation at the end.
What it’s about: ChineseFor.Us uses HSK levels of Chinese proficiency to provide instruction on reading, writing, speaking and listening.
ChineseFor.Us is a great way to bring a traditional classroom learning experience to your screen. This channel offers college-style Chinese instruction online.
Courses are carefully structured so you know exactly what to study next. Videos target beginning- through intermediate-level learners. They cover topics like vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and conversation.
The listening practice story videos are particularly useful. These offer leveled listening practice based on specific themes. The one featured above is a conversation about going to the airport. Story videos show the dialogue on screen, which is a convenient way to practice listening with added support.
What it’s about: This channel from ChinesePod.com offers lessons aimed at those learning traditional Chinese characters.
While the bulk of the courses are on the ChinesePod website, the Traditional Chinese YouTube channel still hosts a variety of useful and interesting content. The videos include English explanations, as well as bilingual subtitles.
If you’re planning to work in a Chinese-speaking environment, check out the “At the Office” series. Or, learn more Chinese idioms with the “Cheng Yu Stories,” featured above. There’s also tons of videos on Mandarin slang, which is sure to impress your Chinese-speaking friends!
The content on the YouTube channel is presented in traditional Chinese characters, but the website supports simplified characters as well.
What it’s about: Chinese Buddy features animated videos with songs to teach valuable Chinese language lessons.
Don’t write this off as childish! Everything is easier to remember when accompanied by a catchy tune. Not only that, but music can make studying more fun and reinvigorate the learning process.
Listening to Chinese pop music is great, but if you’re looking for a more targeted learning experience, Chinese Buddy is the way to go. Each song covers a theme. The words and translations appear as the song plays so you can follow along as you listen.
The video above will teach you how to be positive and supportive in Chinese. Other videos from Chinese Buddy will teach you prepositions, shapes or small talk phrases in Chinese. You’ll be humming along in no time!
What it’s about: Mandarin HQ uses explanatory videos and authentic conversations to help students move from Chinese textbooks to real-word usage.
With this YouTube channel, you’ll learn about real spoken Chinese, not just the textbook variety. Most videos are less than 10 minutes long, so you can easily fit them into a busy schedule.
The channel provides a nice selection of Chinese learning videos, including on-the-street interviews, vocabulary videos, pronunciation lessons and conversation lessons. Others offer Chinese learning strategies and information about regional Mandarin accents.
There’s also the opportunity to learn lots of slang (definitely something you won’t find in your textbook!). For example, the video here will teach you how to refer to a single man or woman in Chinese.
What it’s about: Elementary Chinese teaches the language from the perspective of expats living in China.
Learning Chinese may seem hard at first, so it can be nice to hear from other people who have gone through the same experience. The Elementary Chinese YouTube channel gives you valuable insight into learning the language from someone who’s been there and done that.
Many videos on this channel feature interviews with expats in China. There’s also a multitude of targeted learning material with tips, strategies, product reviews and vocabulary to help you learn Chinese and interact effectively should you ever go to China yourself.
For instance, this video shows how to use a popular Chinese payment method and features an authentic, real-world interaction. Key vocabulary appears on screen for easy studying.
Learn Chinese with Litao
What it’s about: Learn Chinese with Litao aims to teach Chinese systemically via clear, structured content.
This channel is perfect for students who love the organization of conventional courses but also value the flexibility of learning through YouTube. It’s a good choice for anyone who wants to shave unnecessary time and fluff off the learning process.
You can find several different courses on this channel, including lessons on pinyin, Chinese characters, elementary Chinese and how to practice Chinese, all conveniently color-coded. Videos range from beginner to intermediate levels and introduce vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and listening practice.
Intermediate students can practice listening with this example video about the seasons in Shanghai. The speaker talks naturally first, then repeats himself more slowly while the words appear on the screen.
What it’s about: Yoyo Chinese uses authentic Chinese to teach vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and culture.
Yangyang Cheng, founder and host of Yoyo Chinese, is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. She was previously a bilingual host of a popular Chinese show and an adjunct professor, and has an excellent presence on camera.
Check out the unique “Interviews with Chinese Locals” or recordings of Yangyang’s previously live Google+ Hangouts. If you find the content helpful, the Yoyo Chinese website has more tips, livestreams and courses available.
This channel is great for any level of learner as it lives up to its slogan: “Chinese taught in plain English.” For instance, watch and listen to this short recording about a local famer’s market. You’ll listen with subtitles and without, and then the speech will be broken down for you.
What it’s about: Peggy teaches viewers about Chinese language and Taiwanese culture.
Peggy Lee’s YouTube channel is lively and entertaining. Beyond Chinese language lessons, you’ll also get a glimpse into her life and learn more about her home, Taiwan.
Each short lesson is focused on a different activity or event, such as Halloween, going to the beach, hiking or buying tickets for something. Peggy speaks in both Chinese and English and includes subtitles in both languages. Some lessons are for beginner Chinese students and others for intermediate students.
This video, for example, is suitable for beginners. Peggy and her dog show examples of basic location sentences in Chinese. You’ll learn some useful vocabulary as well!
What it’s about: Smart Mandarin helps beginning students learn to speak and read Chinese for daily life.
Katrina is a licensed Chinese teacher from Taiwan who has been teaching for over 10 years. Her videos are mostly aimed at beginners, but can still be used as review for more advanced students.
Smart Mandarin cover topics including pronunciation, characters, vocabulary and study strategies. Videos introduce useful, relevant themes you’ll want to be familiar with if you travel to any Chinese-speaking countries.
For instance, the video above will help you talk about taste, flavor and texture of food in Chinese. The phrases appear on the screen for easy studying, and are said slowly and clearly to help you master the pronunciation.
What it’s about: Mandarin Corner provides an immersive Chinese experience by using a minimal amount of spoken English.
Immersion can be one of the quickest ways to learn a language. If full Chinese immersion isn’t possible, Mandarin Corner is a good alternative. The structure of this YouTube channel allows you to focus on the Chinese language without interference from English.
Mandarin Corner is intended for upper beginner- to intermediate-level students. It features standard topics like vocabulary and grammar, but also includes reading practice, podcasts and stories in slow Chinese.
Chinese words and their meanings appear on screen during listening practice videos. This makes it easy to follow along and study key words and phrases. In the video above, for example, you’ll get listening practice as well as vocabulary related to factory work.
Learn Chinese with Yi Zhao
What it’s about: Yi aims to teach the building blocks of Chinese, including essential vocabulary and basic grammar structures.
Yi Zhao offers useful Chinese learning videos on her YouTube channel. She includes well-explained, well-structured content designed to hold viewers’ interest.
Videos cover vocabulary, common phrases, grammar and travel phrases for beginner to intermediate students. Some videos from Learn Chinese with Yi Zhao also show life in Shanghai, and many cover important topics for the HSK Chinese proficiency tests.
If you’re just starting out, begin with the video above. It’s a three-hour introductory lesson that provides important foundations upon which to build your Chinese skills. You’ll learn common vocabulary, basic grammar and pronunciation.
What it’s about: Krysti Naaa shares typical YouTube vlogs, product reviews and unboxing videos—all in Chinese.
Krysti Naaa is a popular Mandarin-speaking YouTuber. She lives primarily in Boston but also has travel vlogs around the US and of her home in Xi-An, China.
Her videos cover a variety of topics, including travel, daily vlogs, product reviews (mostly makeup and skincare) and fashion tours. Krysti Naaa’s videos will benefit advanced learners the most, as she speaks very quickly and only offers Chinese subtitles on her videos.
For example, the video here is her recent favorite products. You’ll get a good idea of the style of her YouTube channel and the type of content she shares. If your Chinese listening skills are good, you’ll probably pick up some product-related vocab too!
Learn Chinese Now
What it’s about: Learn Chinese Now offers fun, innovative videos for beginner- to advanced-level Chinese students.
This YouTube channel is hosted by non-native speaker Ben, with the extensive help of his native Chinese-speaking friends. Start with the beginner videos and work your way up to the more advanced options.
Learn Chinese Now covers standard vocabulary and grammar, but also advanced vocabulary, politics and news. It even provides tons of unique videos involving Chinese, like catching Pokémon, Chinese stories and cultural differences and miscommunication.
For instance, the video above offers a hilarious look at Chinese tattoos that probably don’t carry the desired meaning. While the video is in English, Ben teaches some helpful Chinese vocabulary—particularly useful if you’re interested in getting a Chinese tattoo!
What it’s about: A UK native shares videos of his life as an expat in China, mostly in Chinese.
While 拂菻坊 (fú lǐn fāng) — Fulinfang isn’t a native Mandarin speaker, his Chinese skills are admirable and his videos are entertaining.
This channel is great for upper beginner and intermediate learners. Most of his vlogs have hanzi subtitles, and newer ones have English as well. The majority of Fulinfang’s videos are in Mandarin, though he does speak English sometimes too.
The video above shows him and a friend attempting to spend 1,000 Yuan on claw machine games. If you’re interested in what it’s like being a foreigner in China, Fulinfang’s channel is worth watching.
Why Learn Chinese on YouTube?
Learning Chinese on YouTube won’t break the bank! YouTube is completely free, so there’s no financial risk involved.
Because it’s free, YouTube is a perfect option for beginners wondering if they want to continue studying Chinese. It’s also a great place for experienced students looking to augment their existing knowledge and learning materials with a new resource.
Additionally, you’ll have nearly unlimited Chinese learning resources on YouTube, from conventional classroom-style lessons to Chinese talk shows, Chinese movies and Chinese TV. New content is uploaded daily, so you won’t ever run out of material!
Further, YouTube videos cover virtually every topic and skill. Whatever you want to work on, there’s a video that addresses it.
Engaging both your sight and hearing, videos are more immersive than some other study methods. This makes it easier to stay focused and interested while learning Chinese.
How to Learn Chinese on YouTube
Subscribe to your favorites
When you find a channel you like, subscribe to it! Then hit the bell icon of your favorite channels to be notified whenever new videos are posted.
Notifications can act as study reminders while ensuring you don’t miss any new Chinese-learning content from your favorite YouTubers.
Simulate conventional courses
Well-organized YouTube channels and playlists can be incredibly helpful. Some channels offer step-by-step lessons, just like you’d find in a conventional Chinese course.
If you don’t want to think about what to study next, watch a channel organized like this in the recommended order. It can be an easy way to build your skills incrementally.
Target your weaker skillsets
Having trouble with listening? Unsure of how to pronounce a tricky word?
Whatever you’re struggling with, find videos on that topic. The multitude of videos available means you’ll surely find a resource you like that targets the specific issue you’re facing.
If the volume of content is overwhelming to you, consider trying a virtual immersion program for a more focused approach. FluentU, for example, uses YouTube-sourced videos that teach and demonstrate Chinese by showing native speakers using it in their own media.
FluentU’s videos can be searched by topic and difficulty level, and each video has interactive captions so you can read along in both Chinese and English.
Watch Chinese videos often
Studying frequently will ensure that your Chinese skills continue to advance. Learning Chinese with YouTube makes this easy.
Videos vary in length, so you can squeeze in one or two short ones if that’s all you have time for. Try to watch at least one video daily. If you can watch a couple times per day, even better!
Can You Learn Chinese in 60 Minutes on YouTube?
There are two ways to answer this question.
According to the Foreign Service Institute, the number of class hours required to reach that level of proficiency averages at 2,200 hours. By those numbers, you won’t be fluent in Chinese with just one hour of study. But you probably already knew that.
The truth is that there’s a lot you can learn in 60 minutes on YouTube. Many videos cover all the language basics needed to get you speaking right away. Believe it or not, some lessons are as short as three minutes!
The key is to manage your expectations. You won’t learn everything in one hour, but you can learn enough to boost your confidence in your language skills. For example, it’s the perfect amount of time to work on pinyin pronunciation, tones and accent!
Of course, what you learn in 60 minutes is up to you. Focus on one language skill (such as listening or speaking), or concentrate on one grammar structure with related vocabulary. Remember, quality over quantity.
Now, you have 16 channels that will get you started learning Chinese on YouTube. Don’t forget to subscribe!
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)