Mandarin Blueprint Review: Surprisingly Good Chinese Course

  • Zoe Mei
    Written byZoe Mei
  • Read time4 mins
  • Comments1
Mandarin Blueprint, a fairly new course for Chinese, is surprisingly good for a non-native course option. Plenty for all levels but there are alternatives.
Mandarin Blueprint Review: Surprisingly Good Chinese Course

Mandarin Blueprint
Mandarin Blueprint
Pricing: $39/month, $399 annually or $799 lifetime payment. Discount code: MG_20OFF
  • Unique methodology
  • Non-native founders mean material is tailored for learner struggles
  • Lesson content developed and recorded by Sichuan University professors
  • High quality video lessons
  • Pricey


A fairly new course option, Mandarin Blueprint is a suprisingly good and comprehensive course for Mandarin Chinese learners. It's one of the few resources I've seen that employs a unique methodology. The two main problems I have with it are its above average cost, and non-native teachers/course creators.

Get 20% off Mandarin Blueprint by using this code: MG_20OFF

DepthThis is 'content' richness. How comprehensive is Mandarin Blueprint and does it take you far in terms of levels, or is it more suited to low level/tourist learners?
UniquenessIs Mandarin Blueprint innovative or is it just an imitation? Does it have a unique selling proposition (USP) that makes it stand out among competitors?
QualityOverall product quality indicator that covers everything from video/dialogue clarity, authenticity, explanations, and effectiveness.
CostIs Mandarin Blueprint acceptably priced and how does its pricing compare to market competition?

There are only a small handful of high quality, comprehensive online Chinese courses.

A relative newcomer in this space is one called Mandarin Blueprint, so I thought it’d be a good idea to review the course and share my thoughts with you.

This one is quite unique in its methodology and approach to teaching Mandarin Chinese which is great to see, but also what I would consider to be a high-end product compared to most others.

Read on for my full review.

Who created Mandarin Blueprint?

Mandarin Blueprint is the brainchild of Luke Neale and Phil Crimmins, from the UK and US respectively.

Both are non-native, advanced speakers of Chinese with a combined 20 years of experience with the language and living in China.

They met in Chengdu, China and began work on Mandarin Blueprint.

There’s also a Mandarin podcast by the same name (which I think came first).

It’s unusual to see foreign teachers with no Chinese co-teachers, but their Mandarin levels (highest HSK level) and learning strategies are seriously impressive.

What’s included in Mandarin Blueprint (general overview)?

Inside Mandarin Blueprint, there’s a Foundation course and an Intermediate course.

The Foundation bundle consists of 6 “phases”:

  1. Pre-Phase — Pronunciation Mastery
  2. Character Building
  3. Vocabulary Building
  4. Sentence Building
  5. Paragraph Building
  6. Story Building

The phases basically lead you on a journey to larger and larger blocks, from pronunciation basics all the way up to reading complete stories.

Each phase is made up of video lessons that are high quality and very descriptive, explaining concepts in almost pedantic detail (with native speaker demonstrations).

In total, Mandarin Blueprint is comprised of:

  • Over 4,500 lessons
  • Over 1000 videos
  • Over 11,000 flashcards with audio

The sheer volume of the bundle and number of videos makes Mandarin Blueprint one of the most comprehensive resources available (I’d say up there with ChinesePod in terms of volume).

Hanzi Movie Method

Luke and Phil developed their own method for learning Chinese characters called the Hanzi Movie Method.

This is a variation of a popular and very common mnemonic technique for memorization.

Rather than traditional rote memorization, the Hanzi Movie Method gets you associating Chinese character components with “movie props, actors and sets”, and then “shooting a movie” in your mind.

It’s highly effective.

But it’s worth noting that this is a variation of a common mneumonic technique that’s been around for ages (albeit with some unique improvements).


Included in Mandarin Blueprint is a comprehensive flashcard component.

They actually have loads of premade Anki flashcard decks with native audio as well.

This is super helpful for memorizing Chinese vocabulary.

How much does Mandarin Blueprint cost (+ refund policy)?

Although it’s a comprehensive resource, it’s a little pricey.

Perhaps too pricey.

You can access the course for $39 per month.

For lifetime access (no subscription), it’s $599 up front which is steep.

Additionally, you can pay for a lifetime membership in installments for $65 per month over a 12 month period.

Like I said - it’s steep.

But it’s a quality course so if you’ve got the funds, I’d say spend it (they do run sales occasionally if you’re on their email list).

For another comprehensive Chinese course at a lower price point, I’d say take a look at Rocket Chinese instead.

Refund policy

There’s a 30 day satisfaction period.

If you’re not happy with Mandarin Blueprint, you can ask for an immediate refund.

Mandarin Blueprint is an impressive resource for Chinese

I’m genuinely impressed and surprised to see such a great course produced by non-natives.

Normally I wouldn’t recommend a non-native Chinese resource but this one is outstanding.

It’s costly, but cost is relative I suppose.

Mandarin Blueprint is still expanding too - the content is always growing, so if you do sign up for a lifetime option, you know you’ll always more content to learn from.

Use code MG_20OFF for a 20% discount on any of their course options.

Used Mandarin Blueprint before?

Comment below and share your opinion.

Mandarin Blueprint
Pricing: $39/month, $399 annually or $799 lifetime payment. Discount code: MG_20OFF

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Donovan Nagel
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I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
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Andrea Dossi

Andrea Dossi

Actually I’ve been told by MB directly that lifetime payment covers ONLY the courses available at the moment of your payment. You will not have access to the courses that will follow.

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