Previously, I’ve written about lots of courses and various apps for studying Chinese. While these resources are great, adding some YouTube videos into your study routine can definitely help to make things a bit more fun.
In this article, I’ll highlight 28 YouTube channels for all students, regardless of if you’re new to Chinese, have been at it a while, or are nearly fluent. I’ve tried to organize them by difficulty level, however, there are some channels that cover multiple levels, so I’ve grouped them wherever seemed most suitable.
If you’re new to Mandarin and are looking to learn the basics of pronunciation, tones, or some useful phrases, this is a good place to get started. Some of these channels can progress into the intermediate territory.
Yangyang is a popular teacher with a variety of introductory videos, including a thorough playlist on pronunciation. She’s from Beijing but now lives in Los Angeles, so she brings an international perspective to her videos. She has a ton of experience teaching Chinese and sells many quality courses on her website. You can read our review of Yoyo Chinese if you’re interested in learning more about those.
There are quite a few different types of videos to check out on her YouTube channel and she covers some materials for intermediate learners as well. Yangyang also hosts live YouTube hangouts with native Chinese speakers, with her students, and even with her parents, so you can practice listening to natural-sounding Mandarin dialogues right away.
ChineseFor.us has online courses, along with a YouTube channel hosted by Lili. They offer “college-quality” lessons according to the HSK learning levels. In reality, the lessons are probably better than what you’ll find in a college. I’m a huge fan of their paid courses, which are both affordable and extensive. You can read my review of ChineseFor.us here.
There are a few different types of videos on the YouTube channel. These include sample lessons from the beginner to lower-intermediate level, stories in Chinese, and videos where you’ll learn multiple ways to say a certain phrase.
ChineseClass101 is a good place to start if you’re looking for a variety of video content for all learning levels. There are lessons for complete beginners, as well as videos on specific topics, such as Chinese holidays or the most difficult sounds to pronounce.
If you haven’t studied Chinese writing yet, you’ll benefit from their introduction to both traditional and simplified Chinese characters. If you’re going to be working or studying abroad, then check out their videos on Chinese money and business. There’s even a 24/7 channel with a rotating series of basic vocabulary and grammar lessons.
To access all of the material, including podcasts and exercises, you’ll have to subscribe and pay on the ChineseClass101 website. I’m not the biggest fan of their paid service, but it’s alright for beginners. You can read the full review of ChineseClass101 here.
Mandarin MadeEZ is a comprehensive YouTube channel hosted by several different teachers, including hosts from the ChinesePod’s paid lessons, which you can learn more about in our review.
ChinesePod has lessons available for everyone from absolute beginners to nearly fluent speakers and their YouTube channel reflects that. You can find some sample lessons along with a lot of shorter bite-sized videos. Most of the videos have captions in pinyin and in Chinese characters, so you’ll get exposure to Chinese writing too.
Many of these beginner level lessons on YouTube are disorganized as they’re more sample lessons from places that sell their own courses. This YouTube channel is different as all of the lessons are included and structured together. It’s not the most exciting thing ever, just being a PPT presentation, but the material is solid.
Chels is a YouTuber from the U.K. who records video lessons from her bedroom. These lessons aren’t as slick as some of the other channels on this list, but Chelsea has a silly, bubbly personality that will keep you entertained. Her videos cover everything from how to open a bank account in China to attending a traditional Chinese wedding. Check out this channel for an offbeat introduction to basic Mandarin phrases.
Litao Chinese sells a few different courses from the HSK 1 to HSK 2 levels on his website. He’s also posted quite a few of these videos for free on his YouTube channel. These videos cover the same basic pinyin and pronunciation topics as many of the other channels on this list, but there are also some that focus specifically on Chinese characters
Hanbridge is a language school that offers online lessons as well as in-person courses in Shenzhen, a Chinese city not far from Hong Kong. Their YouTube channel has videos on Business Chinese, slang, and HSK test preparation. You’ll have to pay to get access to their full courses, but they have plenty of short video lessons and fun clips that teach Mandarin through dialogue, associative memory exercises, and even song.
The sound and image quality can vary a bit, but the teachers are all native speakers who have a degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, so you can be sure that the grammar and pronunciation you’re learning is accurate.
Emma is a fun and energetic YouTube teacher who offers lessons for a variety of levels. If you’re learning Chinese as a family, your kids will enjoy seeing her read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” in or sing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.”
Not all of her videos are made for kids though. Intermediate learners may want to check out her video blogs in which she visits places in China, speaking in Mandarin with English subtitles.
Miss Panda’s YouTube channel is great for kids or for families learning the language together. She uses stories and pictures to introduce you to Chinese vocabulary, as well as cultural concepts like the 12 animals of the Chinese calendar. Learn to read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” in Chinese, or tune in for her tips on raising bilingual children.
Learn Chinese Now is hosted by Ben Hedges, one of the few non-native speakers on this list. Ben is from the U.K., but has spent many years in Taiwan working as a TV host speaking Mandarin, so you can trust him to be an accurate guide to the language. His channel includes basic travel lessons, such as how to ask for Western food in China. One of his best videos is an introduction to the geographic regions of China and is a great way to get a crash course in recent Chinese history.
This is a 100 episode series that was broadcast on CCTV’s English channel. It’s aimed to teach kids and teenagers Chinese. It was created in 2010 so can feel a little bit dated but unlike most other channels on this list, it has more of a TV show style to it.
If the beginner channels are too simple for you but you’re not quite ready for native content, then some of these intermediate level YouTube channels may help. Of course, not all of these videos are strictly for intermediate level students, some also have some more introductory or advanced lessons.
Chinese Zero to Hero is another channel that uses the HSK framework to progress from beginner content all the way through HSK level 6, so if you like the instructors, you can stick with them throughout your language-learning journey.
Previously, we reviewed their paid courses, which are quite affordable and provide a good structure for independent learners.
These lessons follow the HSK Standard Course books so you can be sure that they cover all of the key points you need to learn. I found their grammar lessons to be exceptionally good, and you can find lots of sample lessons on their YouTube channel.
The hosts are dedicated to providing you with a “path to fluency,” so they cover topics such as choosing books to read in Mandarin to deepen your understanding. This is a great channel for everyone from beginners, to intermediate and advanced levels of Chinese.
Peggy is a Youtube language teacher from Taiwan whose videos are great for beginner and intermediate students. One of the highlights of her channel is the “Street Mandarin” series in which she interviews people in Taiwan to introduce you to the language as it’s actually spoken by everyday people. She also has a “Traveling Taiwan” series that will take you to popular tourist spots and teach you about Taiwanese culture.
Although some of the videos are entirely in Mandarin, they typically have English captions to help you follow along.
Mandarin Corner is a severely underrated YouTube channel for intermediate learners. A lot of the videos are a bit longer, lasting 20-30 minutes and include talking to people on the street or telling a story in slow Chinese. The videos typically have subtitles in Chinese, pinyin, and English, making them a fantastic resource.
Some of the topics include the differences between northern and southern Chinese people and an interview with a tattoo artist from China. You’ll enjoy the chance to improve your listening skills and learn about Chinese culture while you’re at it.
There’s also a huge video series that explore vocabulary at the various HSK levels, including example sentences.
MVS Mandarin is a YouTube channel hosted by Chen, a teacher at Miami Valley School. Her videos are “recaps” of the material she teaches her students in Mandarin II and III.
Throughout the 36 episodes, she’ll walk you through the basics of Chinese grammar, including sentence structure, time phrases, and more. Chen is not a native speaker, but she speaks clearly and fluently in both Mandarin and English. You can find additional course material, including flashcards and quizzes, at MVS Mandarin.
HelloChinese is a Mandarin language-learning app that also has a YouTube channel featuring “Minute Mandarin” lessons, podcasts, and other fun instructional videos. Beginners can watch the lessons on pronunciation, while intermediate learners may enjoy learning “9 Of the Hottest Internet Slang Phrases Online in China.”
The hosts include native and non-native speakers discussing all sorts of topics. They even head out onto the streets of Beijing to ask locals about the meaning of famous celebrity nicknames. You’ll learn what LeBron James, Taylor Swift, and Leonardo DiCaprio are called in China while hearing authentic regional dialects.
Their app is a solid way to get started with Chinese and you can learn more about it from our review.
This channel produced by the Hanbridge team is designed specifically to prepare you for taking the HSK language proficiency exam. You’ll get to practice answering different types of questions, including multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank. You can choose from any of the HSK levels and focus on writing, listening, and reading skills. These will be most useful for students who need to pass the exam for a school course or in order to work for a Chinese company.
Happy Chinese is a show that was created by CCTV for intermediate and advanced learners of Chinese in 2009. It follows the story of an American girl that came to study abroad in China. Each episode lasts around 15 minutes and can be pretty interesting. A lot of Chinese is spoken in each episode, but strangely, sometimes very simple phrases are explained.
Mamahuhu is made by a sketch comedy team in Shanghai, with members from all over the world. The videos have captions in English and Chinese, and the descriptions are in English, so that makes it easier to navigate than an all-Mandarin channel. Still, plenty of the content is in Mandarin, so you’ll get to pick up some new words and phrases without being totally lost. Topics include Interracial Dating in China and the differences between Chinese and Western couples. Watch this to get a break from formal lessons.
If you’re looking for content primarily in Chinese that isn’t necessarily made for language learners, then you’ll find it here. These channels offer news, pop culture, comedy, and more, and will help you practice your comprehension and deepen your appreciation for Chinese culture at the same time.
Ben Hedges is a native English speaker from the U.K. who lives in Taiwan and hosts the popular Learn Chinese Now YouTube channel. This series is suitable for intermediate to advanced students who are comfortable watching videos entirely in Mandarin. Instead of grammar lessons, this channel is about Ben’s perspective on Chinese culture, including history, politics, current events, and more.
The videos are styled like newscasts, with Ben introducing stories from the studio and cutting to man-on-the-street interviews and news clips. Turn on the subtitles if you need help keeping up with Ben’s fast speaking pace and lively delivery.
For more news-related content, check out the Chinese-language channel of Voice of America, which offers global news stories for a Chinese audience. You’ll get to practice your comprehension of the standard Mandarin dialect used in broadcast media. This channel is updated regularly, so the topics are up-to-date and timely, and include the latest perspectives on U.S. relations with China and Taiwan.
Lost in Translation is a fun channel that explores the interaction between Chinese and Western cultures. These videos mostly feature exchange students from China and include comedy sketches, reaction videos, and more. One video has Chinese students explaining American slang, and another shows American-born-Chinese speaking to their parents in Mandarin for the first time (with English and Chinese subtitles).
For some Chinese humor, check out this YouTube channel in which a man in a unicorn mask wanders around Beverly Hills and other U.S. locations, getting people to try foods, cocktails, and other products. It’s over-the-top and pretty silly but is a good place to pick up some Mandarin expressions, with subtitles available in both English and Chinese.
These videos cover a variety of aspects of Chinese culture, mostly in the form of comedy sketches, such as “Chinese Parents vs. Western Parents.” The hosts also discuss things like the differences between Taiwanese and mainland words and accents. Some of their videos feature street interviews with native Chinese speakers. The videos are mostly in Mandarin, so are best for advanced students, but they do have English subtitles.
This Group of People is a sketch comedy troupe from Taiwan that makes videos that will be relatable for anyone in the world — even if you don’t pick up every word of Mandarin. Since they’re set in familiar locations, such as the dentist’s office, you can use context clues to practice your listening skills, and turn on the subtitles if you need extra help.
This popular Chinese sitcom could be somewhat comparable to Modern Family. For those that are ready for TV shows, this is a good place to start. Because several of the characters are kids, it can be a little easier to understand than more complex shows. Plus, it’s pretty funny. There are multiple seasons, with hundreds of episodes available on YouTube.
This is another popular Chinese TV show that can be a little easier for those that have an advanced level of Chinese but aren’t quite ready for more complex shows. In this reality show, celebrities and their kids travel to various places in China. Again, because many of the characters are children, it’s a bit easier to understand while also being entertaining.
With all of these YouTube channels to choose from, you’ll have plenty of options to add to your study routine. Whether you’re looking for an introduction to the basics or more advanced videos intended for native speakers, this list should have you covered. Let us know in the comments if you have any other recommendations to add!
If you’re looking for more resources to study Chinese, check out our massive list of 130+ resources here.