YouTube is an underrated source of Mandarin Chinese content.
This resource powerhouse is packed with a wide range of content spanning thousands of topics and if you’re looking to learn Mandarin Chinese, it’s a fantastic place to start.
Why is YouTube one of the most practical language-learning tools?
Well, you’ll get to learn Mandarin from experienced teachers and language enthusiasts worldwide.
In addition to that, picking up a new language through an exciting and entertaining platform such as YouTube minimizes the stress and pressure linked to learning something new.
It’s widely accessible to anyone with a working device and Internet connection and of course, free to use.
Without a doubt, there’s no better way to attain quality content at zero cost, so let’s dive into this list of the best YouTube channels to learn Mandarin Chinese.
Note: Some of these channels are beginner-friendly and cater to first-timers, while others require foundational knowledge of Mandarin and are better suited for advanced learners.
Best YouTube channels to learn Mandarin Chinese (all levels)
With over 400,000 subscribers on YouTube, this popular channel is a resource center catering to beginners all the way through to advanced learners.
You can begin from the very core basics of Chinese pinyin.
Their videos slowly guide you towards picking up the different pronunciations, sounds, and tones of various Chinese words.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of the basics, you can then turn to other videos covering commonly used phrases.
These topics include occupation, expressing emotions and feelings, standard greetings, countries and nationalities, and even festivals and celebrations.
If you’re already well-versed with the basics of the Chinese language, you can opt for higher-difficulty videos explaining the different usages of words with similar meanings and helping you build around your knowledge of sentence structure and grammar.
Some of these advanced videos are filmed entirely in Mandarin, so you’ll need a firm grasp of the language to follow through (or you could try keeping up with the English subtitles provided).
This YouTube Channel is a resource goldmine for beginner to intermediate-level Chinese language learners.
Via their structured lessons, you’ll gradually pick up the basics of conversing in Mandarin.
As you enter their YouTube homepage, you’ll be greeted with videos of differing themes. For example, they have a set of videos that teach viewers the basics of writing and typing Chinese characters.
These reinforce learning by drawing from the various patterns and logic behind each Chinese character.
If you’re learning from scratch, fret not. They’ve got you covered with a subset of videos introducing common Chinese phrases that you can use in your day-to-day life.
These videos cover areas such as introducing yourself when meeting new people and asking basic questions about name, age, or nationality.
ChineseClass101 (see their popular online course or read the review) covers a wide range of skills and topics related to learning Mandarin Chinese, some of which target common pain points of novice Mandarin speakers.
Their videos might be better suited for intermediate to advanced learners.
This is a fantastic database for widening your vocabulary, learning new nouns and adjectives, and getting acquainted with common Chinese expressions.
You’ll also find some very unique videos donning their YouTube homepage. From learning Chinese while you sleep (I didn’t know this was possible either) to juicy tips on how you can track your learning progress and train your listening skills — they’ve got it all.
Some of their most popular videos point out common mistakes that Mandarin speakers make, helping you finetune your speaking skills.
They also cover relatively niche areas, allowing you to enlarge your vocabulary surrounding unique topics such as money, currency exchange, business, and marketing.
Calling all music lovers.
Are you a fan of Chinese artists and songs but don’t have a clue what the lyrics mean? This channel may be the answer to your prayers.
In fact, learning the lyrics of Chinese songs could be an effective way to fortify your vocabulary.
Sing And Learn Chinese fuses the beauty of the Chinese language with the joy of listening to music. Ultimately, their videos contain lyrics from Chinese songs that are translated to English.
However, you’ll probably need a foundational grasp of Chinese pinyin to utilize this learning resource effectively.
Other than lyric videos, they have another series that teaches viewers how to pronounce Chinese syllables accurately.
Chineasy is a small startup seeking to teach curious learners the Chinese language through animations and graphics. For visual learners, this is your playing field.
Though they mainly deliver their content through an app, their well-animated YouTube videos are bound to capture your attention and help you remember Chinese characters better, especially if visual learning is your strong suit.
These easy-to-follow videos are perfect for beginners. They demonstrate the correct stroke order for basic Chinese characters and reinforce your learning by providing simple examples of how certain Chinese characters can be seen as images or objects.
Through the combination of eye-catching animations and captivating storytelling, you’ll pick up the basics of Mandarin from their high-quality content in no time.
Say you prefer a more personal learning experience. If that’s the case, Learn Chinese With Yi Zhao is a great candidate to add to your list.
Yi, the founder and content creator of this channel, is an experienced Mandarin Chinese teacher who passionately shares her knowledge with students worldwide. A fair share of her videos resembles a one-to-one Chinese lesson, so you’ll get a more personal touch to this experience.
Another intriguing series on her channel captures her life in Shanghai, where she introduces viewers to her daily routine while teaching them basic Chinese nouns, verbs, and phrases.
Her channel is well-suited for novice to intermediate-level learners.
Yoyo Chinese is another wildly popular youtube channel for Mandarin Chinese learners (see their course here).
They offer over 1000 video lessons that cater to all stages of learning, and you could probably go from zero to hero from watching their videos alone.
If you’re searching for back-to-the-basics content, you can grasp the fundamentals of the Chinese language through their ‘Pinyin Lesson Series’ and ‘Pinyin Tone Combination Series.’
Then, you can gradually work towards edifying your Chinese sentence structure and grammar knowledge via their Chinese grammar lessons.
If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and watch their Chinese idioms videos to pick up a thing or two that’ll impress your friends.
Finally, their ‘Chinese On The Street’ series gives you fantastic insight into conversational Chinese. These videos revolve around real-life conversations and interviews with random people on the street.
This YouTube channel sets a concrete foundation for learning Mandarin Chinese. Through a host of well-put-together videos with concise explanations, you’ll learn the origin and stroke order of numerous Chinese characters.
Based on many viewers, their systematic approach to teaching Chinese characters and crystal clear explanations provided at just the right pace set the momentum for optimal learning.
Furthermore, their videos meet the requirements for HSK tests.
Some of their videos are snippet previews of complete courses provided on their website. But if you don’t wish to purchase the whole course, what they’ve put up on YouTube will suffice for learning the core basics of Mandarin Chinese.
This channel sets a mighty standard for intermediate to advanced-level Chinese learning content.
Before tackling their video lessons, you’ll need a firm grasp of the Chinese language as their videos cover higher-level content related to grammar, sentence structure, and differentiating similar-meaning words. You’ll likely experience a massive leap in your Mandarin vocabulary as well.
In case you’re wondering, their content meets the requirements and standards of HSK tests. Hence, you can supplement your preparation for Level 1 HSK tests through to Level 9 by watching their content.
Their videos are phenomenally comprehensive, some spanning 4 hours, so grab a cup of coffee before diving into their learning courses.
Yet another channel that’s got your back for HSK tests, Mandarin Corner provides content that equips Mandarin learners for both exams and real-life situations.
Intermediate to expert-level learners should be able to utilize the full capacity of their learning content. Plus, if you wish to become a walking Mandarin dictionary, this channel may just serve as your secret weapon for a vocab boost.
On their homepage, you’ll notice some real-life interviews and documentary-style videos covering entertaining and intriguing topics.
Other episodes involve audio podcasts and videos exploring different places and cities with a Mandarin-speaking host. Their videos are captioned with Chinese characters (hanzi), pinyin, and English subtitles to enhance your learning.
ChinesePod is a one-stop Mandarin resource center for beginner to upper-intermediate learners.
They’ve got videos covering HSK preparation, simple conversation starters, current affairs, and even learning Mandarin via famous movie lines and commercials. I tip my hat off to their creativity.
Upon landing on their YouTube homepage, you can easily navigate through their conveniently categorized videos to find those best-suited for your learning needs.
Their videos are split into beginner, elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, and upper-intermediate lessons. Plus, you might catch some short animated snippets throughout their videos depicting daily conversations using the Chinese language.
If you’re looking for structured learning content delivered through easy-to-follow and clear-cut explanations, you may wish to give this channel a go.
Shuo, the persona behind the camera, is a professional Mandarin teacher.
Her YouTube channel is inclined towards the casual one-to-one tuition experience, where she delivers Chinese lessons covering grammar, sentence structure, and choice of words.
The upbeat soundtracks and witty editing, paired with her bubbly personality, work synergistically to keep viewers glued to the screen. Her videos are definitely a far cry from dull and overly rigid video tutorials, but instead, she teaches Mandarin using amusing, relatable, and funny scenarios.
Many of her videos are captioned with Chinese characters (hanzi), pinyin, and English subtitles.
Plus, they flow at a good pace, allowing intermediate and advanced learners to keep up.
Katrina Lee’s videos are the catapult for effective language learning, especially if you’re interested in picking up traditional Chinese characters.
She is an experienced Mandarin Chinese teacher with over ten years of teaching experience.
Katrina draws from this to guide both beginner and intermediate-level students towards speaking fluent Mandarin.
Katrina is bilingual (or multilingual), and her videos are filmed in fluent Mandarin and English. You’ll find tutorials covering basic Chinese words and phrases, while higher-level ones have an anchored focus on correct sentence structure and choice of words.
The gist of her videos revolves around natural fluency when speaking because you won’t want to sound like you’re reading off a textbook when conversing with other people.
While Kevin In Shanghai isn’t a channel geared specifically towards Chinese Mandarin learners, their videos are an excellent way for upper-intermediate to advanced-level students to improve their Mandarin.
Other than refining your vocabulary and natural fluency in Mandarin, you’ll also get to learn about Chinese culture through their video interviews that are conveniently English subtitled.
Some of their other videos involve comedy skits, games, and amusing language videos with guests.
Hopefully, watching these entertaining videos will improve your Mandarin and knowledge of Chinese culture while giving you a much-needed serotonin boost.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t a Mandarin learning channel either. Nevertheless, there’s no reason to limit your options.
Afu Thomas is a German who’s based in Shanghai, China.
Most of his vlogs, comedy skits, and videos are filmed in Mandarin Chinese and are English subtitled.
If you have a keen interest in traveling videos, love being exposed to different cultures, or want a glimpse into the life of a foreigner living in China, add this channel to your must-watch bucket list. His videos are dangerously addictive, too, so don’t be surprised if you end up binge-watching them.
In terms of learning Mandarin, intermediate to advanced learners should be able to keep up, though beginners could learn a thing or two via the English subs.
Are you a massive fan of cooking videos? If you responded with a resounding ‘yes,’ then why not indulge in some cooking videos while picking up Mandarin along the way?
Upon landing on this channel, you’ll be greeted with a unique combination of ASMR cooking and comprehensive recipe instructions delivered via Mandarin narration (in a soothing tone, too).
It’s no wonder that they’ve soared past the 3 million mark in terms of subscribers.
They’ve subtitled their videos with Chinese characters, though you can manually turn on the English subtitle/closed caption function on YouTube if you need it. Beginners, intermediate and advanced learners are welcomed to join the watch party, though newbies may need to rely on English subs to keep up.
Warning: Do not watch this channel late at night on an empty stomach.
Their brilliantly put-together cooking tutorials are conducted in Mandarin Chinese and cover a range of recipes—from unique desserts and meal prep breakfast ideas to refreshing beverages, seafood, and Asian dishes.
Like the previous channel, you can turn on the closed caption function for English subs, which would be helpful for beginners.
Do you go gaga over makeup? Or perhaps, you love keeping up with beauty gurus and their latest trends?
If so, this channel may just be your cup of tea.
Oh Emma features a wide range of makeup tutorials, where Emma shares her knowledge and passion for fashion, makeup, and beauty with her viewers worldwide.
Since there are no English subtitles available (as of now), upper-intermediate to advanced Mandarin learners are more likely able to follow.
The entertaining editing style fused with Emma’s upbeat personality unsurprisingly captures the attention of many audiences. And in some videos, you might even catch a glimpse of her adorable pup.
Off The Great Wall is the perfect channel for those keen on learning about Chinese culture, history, myths, and beliefs.
In the YouTube universe, they’ve garnered over 700,000 subscribers and counting.
Still, it’s no surprise since their content is highly entertaining, educational, and further enriched by eye-catching graphics and images.
While the most part of their content is delivered in English, they do introduce and explain specific Mandarin phrases related to the video’s topic.
In short, this is an excellent channel to spice up your Mandarin learning journey, where you can dive deeper into rich Chinese history and cultural topics.
Useful Chinese With Chris brings you back to the core basics.
Their beginner-friendly videos cover counting in Chinese and picking up the stroke order for simple Chinese characters.
On top of that, some of their other videos teach simple phrases in Chinese, but these are more suitable for Spanish speakers, as there is no English translation.
When it comes to learning Mandarin Chinese, you have many great options
With an endless database of Chinese content available at your fingertips, you’ll definitely find an entertaining and exciting way to pick up Mandarin Chinese.
Psst, know of a tried-and-tested YouTube channel for learning Mandarin Chinese that’s not on this list?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.