The 7 Best Online Courses to Learn Chinese (Mandarin)

Kelsey Wetherbee Published on March 13, 2023

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If you are learning Mandarin Chinese, deciding where to start can be a challenge. To save you time and stress, we’ve compiled a list of the best online Chinese courses available to learn Mandarin from the comfort of your home. Whatever your language goals, budget, and schedule, you’re sure to find something helpful on this list.

Over one billion people use Mandarin Chinese as their mother tongue, which makes it the language with the most native speakers in the world. Learning it will allow you to speak to about one-fifth of the global population. By looking at these numbers alone, it’s clear that learning Mandarin can be very useful.

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China has one of the world’s largest economies, and speaking Chinese can help you get a job in China or with a company that has business ties with this country. It’s also useful to learn this language for travel. With some of the most iconic landmarks in the world and over 3,500 years of recorded history, there’s plenty to see and do if you want to explore the country.

What Are The Best Online Mandarin Chinese Courses?

To find the best online courses, I searched the internet to find the most popular options for Mandarin Chinese learners. Then, I researched each course to see what it offered, the main features, and price. After deciding the pros and cons of each course, I narrowed the selections down to the final options.

In the table below, you’ll find the best courses to learn Mandarin Chinese online. Scroll down to learn more about each one.

Quick Summary: Our Top Picks for Online Courses to Learn Chinese
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Rocket Chinese
  • Study at your own pace and repeat difficult lessons
  • Varied lesson types to practice all language skills
  • Cultural insights help you learn more than just the language
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Chinese Uncovered
  • 20 modules of video lessons
  • Extensive notes and practice material
  • Lessons that teach characters
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Chinese Zero to Hero
  • Focuses on functional language and real-world applications
  • Videos Lessons
  • Homework and practice worksheets
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YoYo Chinese
  • 1,000+ video lessons
  • Learn to read and write Chinese characters
  • Practice quizzes and flashcards
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ChineseClass101
  • Podcast-style lessons
  • Your verbal communication skills will improve quickly
  • ChineseClass101 aligns its content with the HSK test to help you track your fluency
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GoEast Mandarin
  • Live, 1-on-1 classes
  • Self-study modules
  • Highly-qualified teachers
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Chinese for Us
  • Video lessons
  • Small courses to learn Pinyin, tones, and characters
  • Integrated HSK levels
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Rocket Chinese

Best Overall Mandarin Course

Rocket Chinese is a language learning app and online platform that has an extensive Mandarin Chinese course. There are 3 levels that start from the basics of teaching you “ni hao” and go to an upper-intermediate level. There are 3 types of lessons: Interactive Audio lessons, Language & Culture lessons, and Writing lessons that teach how to write the hanzi characters.

Rocket Chinese homepage

Rocket Chinese is an effective way to start learning Mandarin. The course walks you through the difficulties of the language step-by-step. Because the audio lessons give detailed explanations, it’s easy to understand. Rocket also stresses the importance of speaking aloud during the lessons to practice pronunciation. The course gives you lots of tips and tricks to remember the new words and characters. You can learn more about it in this Rocket Chinese review.

Key Features

  • Study at your own pace and repeat difficult lessons
  • Varied lesson types to practice all language skills
  • Cultural insights help you learn more than just the language

Pricing

With Rocket Chinese, you pay by the level, not with a monthly subscription. Each level costs the same price and there isn’t a discount for buying more levels at the same time. Level 1 costs $149.95. Levels 1 & 2 costs $299.90, and levels 1, 2, & 3 together cost $449.85. The one-time purchase gives you lifetime access to the lessons.

Chinese Uncovered

Best for Beginners

Chinese Uncovered is part of the Story Learning series. As the name suggests, you learn Chinese through a story. In each unit, you listen to a chapter of the story that is entirely in Chinese. Then you watch video lessons that teach important grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation topics from the chapter. 

chinese uncovered logo

Each unit has extensive lesson notes and practice exercises to reinforce what you learn. It’s an extensive course with 20 modules and other bonus learning materials. The stories are written in both characters and pinyin, and each module has a lesson that gradually teaches you some fundamental characters.

Key Features

  • 20 modules of video lessons
  • Extensive notes and practice material
  • Lessons that teach characters.

Pricing

You get access to the entire course for a one-time payment of $297.00. There is a 7-day free trial, but you have to enter your credit card information to access it.

Chinese Zero to Hero

Best for HSK Prep

Chinese Zero to Hero is a series of courses available through the Teachable platform and has had over 36,000 students. It focuses on real-world applications and functional language. The courses use the HSK curriculum and are designed to help you pass the corresponding level of the test. 

Chinese Zero to Hero

Each unit includes multiple videos that focus on different skills like vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Throughout the course, you will have different homework assignments and practice worksheets to complete. While you can take the lessons in any order you want, it’s most effective if you follow the course layout.

Key Features

  • Focuses on functional language and real-world applications
  • Videos Lessons
  • Homework and practice worksheets

Pricing

Each level course costs $29.04-$77.44. This is a one-time purchase that gives you lifetime access. It’s cheaper to buy the courses in bundles. The HSK 1-4 bundle costs $162.14 and the Ultimate Bundle, which includes all Chinese Zero to Hero courses, costs $264.99. You can preview any course for free to see if you like it before buying.

YoYo Chinese

Best Structured Course

YoYo Chinese has a clearly structured curriculum that walks you through everything you need to know to become conversational in Chinese. It uses short video lessons that focus on Chinese dialogues to help you improve speaking and listening skills. 

YoYo Chinese

Each lesson has additional learning materials like interactive exercises and quizzes to help you reinforce what you learned. There are other resources available like Chinese character lessons, an interactive Pinyin chart, and flashcards to learn Chinese vocabulary. You can also track your progress to see how quickly you are learning.

Key Features

  • 1,000+ video lessons
  • Learn to read and write Chinese characters
  • Practice quizzes and flashcards

Pricing

You can sign up for a free YoYo Chinese account to access a small amount of the course content. There are two different monthly subscription options: $8.99 per month to access all the video lessons and downloadable notes, or $11.99 per month to access everything available on the platform including the lessons, practice questions and flashcards. You can also choose to purchase lifetime access to YoYo Chinese for a one-time payment of $299.99.

ChineseClass101

Best for Flexibility

ChineseClass101 is an extensive online platform and app that has audio and video lessons to improve your conversational skills and overall language abilities. The lessons are short and easy to manage and there is a lot of flexibility in the topics you choose to study. There are 5 levels that go from basic to advanced Chinese.

chineseclass101 homepage

The most important feature of ChineseClass101 is the audio and video lessons, but it also offers a lot of other materials like vocabulary lists, slideshows, and flashcards. There are thousands of lessons in ChineseClass101 and they cover most topics you’ll need to communicate and practice listening comprehension. Try ChineseClass101 for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this ChineseClass101 review.

Key Features

  • Podcast-style lessons
  • Your verbal communication skills will improve quickly
  • ChineseClass101 aligns its content with the HSK test to help you track your fluency

Pricing

There is a free version of ChineseClass101 that allows you to access a few lessons, but if you want to use the full version, you need a paid subscription. The cost of a Basic subscription is between $4.00 and $8.00 per month, a Premium subscription costs between $10.00 and $25.00 per month, and a Premium Plus subscription costs $22.88 to $47.00 per month.

GoEast Mandarin

Best Live Classes

GoEast Mandarin is a language school based in Shanghai that also offers online classes for adults and kids. They use a blended learning method, mixing live online Chinese classes with a qualified teacher and self-learning modules. This helps you make the most out of your classes because you first learn the material individually, and then review it with your teacher and practice speaking during your lesson.

GoEast Mandarin

In addition to the level courses, which align with HSK standards, there are also specialized courses such as business Chinese, exam preparation, conversational courses, and lessons for children. All courses are taught by highly-qualified and experienced Mandarin teachers. You can choose if you want to take private classes or group classes.

Key Features

  • Live, 1-on-1 classes
  • Self-study modules
  • Highly-qualified teachers

Pricing

You can take a free trial class to learn more about Go East and receive a customized learning plan. Additionally, you will learn about their plans and prices.

Chinese for Us

Best for Self-Paced Learning

Chinese for Us is a comprehensive course that includes video lessons that teach all aspects of Chinese. If you are a complete beginner, you can start with mini-courses that teach fundamentals like Pinyin, tones, and basic Chinese characters. If you already know this information, you can start at the beginner course or in HSK levels 1-3 depending on your previous knowledge.

Chinese for Us

The HSK levels are integrated throughout the course to help you pass the test. The integrated platform also lets you switch back and forth between any device without losing your progress.

Key Features

  • Video lessons
  • Small courses to learn Pinyin, tones, and characters
  • Integrated HSK levels

Pricing

Chinese for Us has three monthly subscription options. If you want to pay on a monthly basis, it costs $24.99 per month. A six-month subscription costs $9.99 per month and a yearly subscription costs $8.99 per month. You can also sign up and try a few free lessons to test out the course.

Why You Should Take an Online Course To Learn Mandarin Chinese

Online courses are one of the best ways to learn Mandarin Chinese because they are comprehensive and can help you develop all language skills. They are a flexible way to learn because you take lessons on your own schedule. There are many different options available, from group to individual lessons, and self-paced learning to live classes, you’re sure to find something that fits your learning goals and your study habits.

How To Use Online Courses When Learning Mandarin Chinese

If you want to learn Mandarin Chinese with an online course, the most effective way is to be consistent. Dedicating time every day, or at least a few times per week, will help you remember what you previously learned and then build upon it. An online course is also best used alongside other learning methods such as a Mandarin language app or self-study books. Using multiple resources is more effective for improving all language skills since each type excels in different areas.

Best Online Courses To Learn Mandarin Chinese: Final Thoughts

There are many reasons to learn Mandarin. Whether you want to travel, advance your career, or talk with a relative, you’re sure to find a course on this list that can help you achieve your goals. Once you’ve found the best option for you, it’s time to buckle down and practice. Consistent studying is key to seeing improvement. With practice and dedication, you’ll be speaking Mandarin with ease!

Best Online Courses To Learn Mandarin Chinese: FAQ

What is the best way to learn Mandarin online?

The best way to learn Mandarin Chinese online is with a comprehensive course like Rocket Chinese, ChineseClass101, or YoYo Chinese. They compile all the information you need to learn and practice into one place and provide a structured plan you can follow you always know what to study next.

Can I learn Mandarin Chinese online?

Yes, you can learn Mandarin Chinese online. There are a variety of resources you can use to learn online like language apps, online courses, and live classes. You can also access authentic material like Chinese newspapers, podcasts, and music. The best way to learn is to use more than one resource so you can practice all language skills.

How many years does it take to learn Mandarin Chinese fluently?

How long it takes to learn Mandarin depends on a variety of factors, like how much time you can spend studying, what types of resources you use, and your natural ability to learn languages. In general, it can take around 18 months to reach a conversational level in Mandarin if you are a serious learner who can study frequently. Casual learners will take longer to learn the language.

If you want to see how long it will take you to learn Mandarin, check out our Fluency Calculator.

Can Mandarin be self-taught?

It is possible to teach yourself Mandarin, but it will take dedication and hard work. There are a wide variety of courses, apps, books, podcasts, and videos available that make it possible to learn Chinese online. Immersing yourself in the language is one of the best ways to learn a language, and you can always find movies, music, and TV shows online. You can also use tutoring platforms like italki and Preply to speak with native Chinese speakers online.

Kelsey Wetherbee

Kelsey is the Content Manager and Editor of Langoly. She is a TEFL-certified English teacher with more than eight years of classroom experience in three different countries. She’s an avid language learner with an advanced level of Spanish and is currently studying French. Whenever possible, she loves to travel and enjoys meeting people from all over the world. Connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn.

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