This page contains our handpicked list of the best resources to learn Chinese online. We’ve organized the various sites by category to help you navigate the page. To find the resources you had in mind, just click on one of the links in the table below (e.g. podcasts). Happy learning!
Resources to Learn Chinese:
General Chinese Learning (online courses, general sites, blogs, etc.)
A well-known blog that focuses more on the methods of learning Chinese rather than the content. Its creator, Olle Linge, has complied a bunch of ideas and resources not just for learning, but for perfecting your learning.
A well-known language school organisation with more than 30 years of experience. They offer courses to learn English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese and Arabic in 30 different countries.
This website is a portal devoted to anything about China and its culture. Here you’ll find a complete course along with a multitude of learning tools (dictionary, audio) and resources for immersion.
This site focuses on particular aspects of Chinese culture, including medicine, art and calligraphy. They also have a lesson plan on how to learn Chinese with ten minutes a day.
Chinese Courses on China Radio International
Radio China International offers a 68-lesson course on the basics of communicating in daily life. Each lesson comes with exercises and culture topics.
Chinese for European
This site created by the European Union offers its own Chinese course for free online. The course are separated into several versions depending if the learner is a tourist, a student, a businessperson, etc.
Access Chinese, part of leChinois.com, offers a plethora of online resources to learn Chinese.
Language Learning Foundations
In this video course, the British polyglot Olly Richards explains “the exact techniques and routines you need to learn a new language and start speaking fluently”. The course consists of 10 modules focusing on the most important topics to learn any language on your own and get quick results.
The course is based on the method Olly has developed for himself to learn 7 foreign languages (Japanese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Arabic) and you can use it to learn any language (Chinese included).
Live the Language has put together a wonderful Ebook for learning Mandarin Chinese by asking 10 famous Chinese language experts their opinion on the best advice and tricks to becoming proficient in the language.
Speaking and Pronunciation
Chinese Tones: A video for English speakers
Here is a great page for beginners. We all know how difficult the Chinese tones can be. But did you know English has equivalents? In this video, our host, Yangyang gives us a lesson on tones specifically for English speakers. One of the hardest things mastering in Chinese is their four tones. That’s why this YouTube video lays out a great explanation and shows you how to get started speaking without messing up on the tones.
Pinyin Pronunciation Table
Pinyin is a system for transcribing spoken Chinese with Latin characters. It’s everywhere when you’re learning Chinese, and knowing the corresponding sounds are necessary for good pronunciation.
A tool that gives you the Pinyin transcription of the Chinese characters from a text.
This well known website is a community where you can find language teachers or where you can simply look for overseas correspondents for immersing yourself in a language.
Audio – Video
China Central Television- Learn Chinese
A crash course for learning Chinese, CCTV’s Survivial Chinese offers 37 lessons with pronunciations. The site also streams slightly more advanced programs for learning Chinese, such as Growing up with Chinese.
Easy Peasy Chinese
Made by Mandarin Chinese School, these free audio lessons and accompanying ebook cover original topics such as haggling at the market and the Chinese New Year.
While the Slow Chinese site is semi-bilingual, the podcasts are all in Chinese, so a level of prior understanding in Chinese is necessary. The podcasts’ main focus is Chinese culture, and the site is updated quite frequently.
BBC Podcast of the Day
Here’s a good resource for daily immersion. Since the podcasts can only be downloaded for a limited time, it’s best to subscribe to this podcast and introduce it into your learning schedule.
Pastimes of Youth
A podcast created by two Taiwanese students who talk about their daily life in a pretty casual manner. This resource is best used for learning everyday language.
Youku is a site that broadcasts videos online. Its concept is pretty similar to that of YouTube, but it does offer something new, such as videos on demand. However, the interface is completely in Chinese. If you’re an advanced or even fluent Chinese learner, Youku is great for keeping yourself immersed when you feel like you have nothing left to study.
This site is pretty similiar to Youku, but its target audience is a little younger.
Movies and TV Series
PPTV is a public sharing platform. Since anybody can upload their own content, you can find all sorts of videos — a lot of them with Chinese subtitles.
Rhymes and Poems in Chinese
This personal site contains numerous poems and traditional Chinese songs for studying. The translations are available as well as soundtracks, videos and evens music sheets for musicians.
China’s Top 50 on Baidu
A consensus of the best musical acts in China at the moment, complied by the Chinese search engine.
CCTV-Chinese Public Television
The portal to China’s state TV station, this institution broadcasts its programs throughout 15 some channels available online in their entirety.
A private TV station that offers its live programs through its site. Here you also have your choice of several different channels.
One of the many national TV channels, originally out of Hunan. This channel is another broadcaster that offers its shows online. Hunan TV is one of the most loved stations in the country.
Reading and Writing
Chinese Reading Practice
A site run by an American expat in Bejing, Chinese Reading Practice is one of the best resources to learn Chinese through reading. The site’s owner posts interesting texts she has found in Chinese along with the English translation. So for her beginner section, she shares texts like poems and nursery rhymes, and for her advanced sections, you will find text like jokes and essays for instance.
This site features many classics of Chinese literature along with their English (or French) translations. Each character used in the passages are analyzed and explained, and even better, by hovering over the character, you can see an automatic translation.
Why Chinese is easy
In this e-book, the famous polyglot Benny Lewis reveals not only why learning Chinese can be easier than other languages but also several techniques, ideas, ressources and hacks to become fluent in Chinese in a very short time. Benny has learned several languages himself and he’s a great motivator to help you achieve results faster.
And if you are learning several languages, you can also get a bundle with all his ebooks.
Make words stick
A very useful guide to help you build a method to memorize vocabulary more efficiently and quickly. This e-book is written by the famous polyglot Olly Richards who has used flashcards and the Spaced Repetition System to learn his 7 languages. Useful to learn any language, Chinese included.
Online English-Chinese Dictionary
The site Chinese-Tools.com offers an online dictionary for Chinese. It’s adapted to the specifics of the language and breaks down each word according to its ideograms. Each character also features a pronunciation.
Hanzidico – English/French-Chinese dictionary
While the site’s interface is in French, when you type a word into the search bar, it will display the English translation as well. It also displays traditional and simplified characters.
Magazines and Newspapers
The portal to the Xinhua news agency publishes news highlights on every country. Here the news is given in a neutral and concise manner and covers a large panel of subjects making it one of the best resources to learn Chinese.
The People’s Daily
The official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. It focuses on the most followed news topics of the day as well as the political happenings of the Chinese Communist Party.
The second state-run news agency in China, this site addresses the Chinese of Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and the Chinese diaspora throughout the world.
A Chinese journal that focuses on the Taiwanese region and the Formosa Strait.
The official site to Chinese public radio. It provides general news with a neutral tone.
The Economic Observer
The online edition of The Economic Observer, inspired by Britain’s Financial Times, takes an in-depth look into news on the Chinese economy.
The Time Weekly
The online portal of the weekly news magazine. The articles cover current events and take an in-depth look into world news.
A free smartphone app for listening to Chinese music with lyrics to each song.
Miscellaneous (images, infographics, fun…)
A Breakdown on the HSK Language Exams
A detailed explanation on the grading and what to expect on the only language exams offered by the Chinese Ministry of Education.
The number one search engine in China. It offers more specific results than Google, the latter being blocked in China. However, Baidu is one of the best resources to learn Chinese
The most popular microblogging site in China. Like Twitter, it allows you to follow comments from millions of people and share what you find interesting.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best resources to learn Chinese. We regularly search for and test new resources to learn Chinese on the web to add to this list. If you know of any resources that deserve to be on this list, feel free to send them to us with this contact form.