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Should I Learn Chinese? Yes! (Here Are My Top 9 Reasons Why)

Learning Mandarin Chinese is one of the absolute best investments you can make with your free time.

But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s talk about nine reasons why you shouldn’t hesitate to start learning Chinese right now.


1. Chinese will open up a world of opportunity for you

why learn chinese

At this point in time, Mandarin Chinese is hands-down the best language to learn to get a head start in life. 

The main driver of the language’s attractiveness is China’s booming economy and its status as a rising global superpower. Over the last 35 years, China has transformed itself from an impoverished country to becoming what is arguably one of the largest global economies.

China has opened itself up to the world, encouraging foreign investment and economic cooperation. Because of this, there is a huge demand for people who can bridge the gap between this new growing China and the wider world.

2. Chinese skills make you an attractive hire

Of course, to be this sort of bridge, there is one skill you must have: fluent Mandarin Chinese.

Due to the lack of people in the Western business world who can speak both Chinese and English, there’s a huge demand for these skills, and this can of course mean very lucrative wages.

Through learning Chinese, you can transform yourself into somebody who is critical to the success of a project in China, thereby making yourself a very attractive hire.

3. Communicate with more than a billion people in Chinese

why learn chinese

There are currently around 1.3 billion Chinese speakers in the world today. While English is widely spoken in many other countries of the world such as India, Nigeria and those of the European Union, this is not the case in China.

Most students learn English in school, but few can speak it to any useful level. Only through speaking Chinese can someone really experience everything that China and its millennia-old civilization have to offer.

4. The Chinese diaspora is almost everywhere

China has a huge diaspora found in almost every country in the world. This presents learners with a readily available pool of people with whom to practice their language skills without even leaving their country.

Furthermore, this community is often very eager to help you learn Chinese, and through engaging with them, you have the ability to make whole new groups of friends!

5. Gain access to Chinese online spaces

why learn chinese

While much of the world shares a common online space, this is not the case for China. The Chinese Internet is full of its own unique multimedia, memes and other content virtually unknown to the rest of the world.

A good example of this is Chinese video-sharing sites Youku and Tudou, which function as Chinese versions of Netflix and YouTube respectively. The key to accessing these spaces is Chinese fluency, yet another reward for learning the language.

The future will likely be Chinese, so get ahead of the curve!

6. Chinese is one of the easiest languages to learn

When it comes to grammatical complexity, Chinese grammar is simple. 

Unlike most European languages, it does not feature complicated constructs like cases and genders. It also treats tenses in a very simplistic way.

Furthermore, unlike other East Asian languages such as Korean and Japanese, the language is free from complicated honorific grammar.

When you consider how long learners of other languages focus on verb conjugation and genders, you will begin to understand that this is an area where Chinese learners can rapidly outpace learners of other languages.

7. Memorizing characters and tones is less important than you think

why learn chinese

People will often dismiss Chinese by saying things like “Won’t I have to learn 10,000 random pictures?” or “Doesn’t every word have 10 meanings?”

The truth is that Chinese characters are not random pictures, but a reasonably organized system of radicals and phonetic elements that isn’t too hard to understand. In addition, a learner really only needs to know 2000-3000 characters to have a reasonable degree of fluency.

With respect to tones, while important, they are not necessarily critical to understanding. In reality, Chinese people tend to use context more than tone to understand what you are talking about in any given sentence. 

8. Digital learning is making learning Chinese easy and fun

Digital learning techniques have exploded in popularity in the last decade or so, providing learners with great dictionary programs like Pleco and brilliant character-learning programs such as Memrise and Anki.

Media-assisted learning techniques are also a huge help when it comes to learning Chinese. For example, FluentU turns a library of native, authentic Chinese videos into full language lessons by using interactive subtitles and learning tools.

There are also many amazing apps for learning Chinese. All of this makes attaining Chinese proficiency faster and easier than ever before.

9. Handwritten characters are less important than before

why learn chinese

Typing is now supplanting character writing in China fast.

A number of popular character input methods are used throughout China on mobile devices and computers, and they have grown to become the primary way that Chinese texts are created.

What this means is that you really only need to be able to recognize a Chinese character to type it, rather than learn how to physically draw it through rote memorization.

FAQs About Learning Chinese

How Long Does It Take to Learn Chinese?

According to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), it takes around 2,200 for English speakers to learn Mandarin Chinese fluently. But it also depends on your experience learning languages, your study time each day, learning methods you use, etc.

Roughly, studying for 1 hour a day would mean you can learn Chinese in about six years. By studying for 2 hours a day, you can learn Chinese in 3 years.

How to Start Learning Chinese

The best place to start learning Chinese is by learning pinyin (the romanization system of Chinese characters) and the tones. This should only take you one day. Next, start building your vocabulary with a Chinese course, textbook or app. Focus on one primary resource with a solid structure that guides you through the course. Slowly, you can start incorporating Chinese characters—only aim to learn 5-10 per day, and start by learning the radicals first so you can easily learn more complicated characters later.

Here are some guides I recommend on how to start learning Chinese, plus guides for all the points I just mentioned:


How To Learn Chinese By Yourself: My 15 Best Tricks and Techniques | FluentU Chinese Blog

Wondering how to learn Chinese by yourself? It sounds difficult, but it’s definitely doable with these techniques. This guide walks you through 15 steps that worked for…


What Is Pinyin? The Complete Beginner’s Guide | FluentU Chinese Blog

Pinyin is a Chinese writing system that uses the Latin alphabet. It lets you become fluent in Chinese before you learn any Chinese characters! So dive on in to this…


How to Master Chinese Tones: A Comprehensive Guide | FluentU Chinese Blog

Meet the Chinese tones! We’ll walk you through the five tones (flat, rising, dip, falling, neutral) along with tone pairs, pitch contour and tone changes. We’ll also show…


28 Best Online Chinese Courses in 2024 | FluentU Chinese Blog

Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced student searching for the best online Chinese course? Do you prefer on-the-go teaching, videos, audio or tutoring as a…


Chinese Radicals: The Mandarin Learner’s Guide to All 214 Components | FluentU Chinese Blog

Understanding Chinese radicals will help you read and write more effectively in Mandarin by helping you understand characters better. Here’s everything you need to learn…

How Many Dialects of Chinese Are There?

There’s not an exact number of Chinese dialects known to exist, mainly because there’s lots of debate surrounding which ones should be considered “languages” instead of “dialects.” But linguists typically agree that there are 7-10 major Chinese dialects, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Min (Hokkien) and Wu (Shanghainese).

These major groups have their own subdialects, which are almost too many to count. For example, Mandarin has 90 subdialects.


Chinese is not as hard as you might think, and technology is making it easier and easier.

The future of the world will likely be shaped by the billion-strong population of China, and it is indeed a hugely useful move to learn to speak to these people and understand their culture.

So don’t hesitate—drop everything and start learning Chinese today!

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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