Learning Chinese, the language generally considered to be one of the hardest in the world, can seem like a daunting task. It’s not as hard as it seems though with hundreds of apps out there to help get you started. They’re the perfect supplement to a study trip so you can get a head start on your studies.

With so many out there we went through our favourites to get you started.

learning chinese

Learn Chinese – HelloChinese

This is a great all-rounder with a delightful looking interface. It covers everything Pinyin, pronunciation, character stroke order, vocabulary and grammar. It’s game-based learning and yet systematic so you stay engaged and make progress.

Infinite Chinese

We’ve recommended the infinite apps for a couple of languages and that’s because they’re a great, fun way to learn a lot of vocabulary. It’s a space-based game that’s fast-paced. The speed will help you with both speeding up your character recognition and remembering large volumes of vocabulary.


A well-known language app for learning a wide range of languages. Well did you know that Chinese is on there too. DuoLingo uses spaced repetition and a mixed style of questions around sentences, reading, writing and sound recognition. This works great for some people but not so much for others. As with all the apps we recommend trying it out to see if it’s the best way for you. You also have to deal with the DuoLingo owl guilt-tripping you if you miss your practice.

Chinese Sentence Master

Learning lots of vocab and characters is all well and good but it’s not much use if you’re not putting it into practice or understanding how to construct normal sentences with it. Well this app gives you thousands of sentences to practice and the best thing about it is that you can create playlists that you can listen to as you go. Listening and speaking is one of the most important things you need to get used to practising if you want to properly learn Chinese. It also has practice questions and tracks your mistakes so you can see where you’ve gone wrong and what you need to practice.

Learn Chinese & Learn Mandarin Free

Not the catchiest sounding app but it does do what it says in the name. This is one designed by professional teachers and follows the HSK curriculum. Learning is bite-sized and gamified to make it engaging and fun but there’s a lot more than some of the other apps. There’s automatic speech assessment, you can make friends and compete against them and there’s offline learning for when you’ve not got a connection. There’s even a cute panda mascot for the app, what more do you need.


Last but not least is one for learning characters. It has a bit of a complex method of doing this but it is actually rather useful. You learn through reading Chinese texts. You paste a Chinese text into the app and it adds tone colors and underlines which characters are part of a word, and also gives pinyin. However, it only shows the pinyin for characters you don’t know. It keeps track of what you’ve learned. Once you’re comfortable with a character you can set it as known. This means that you’re learning characters and learning how to read in real-world texts. It also has a built-in dictionary so you can look up new words. It’s worth using this once you’re a bit more familiar with some basic characters otherwise it can seem rather overwhelming.

As we mentioned at the start, there are a lot of apps to learn Chinese and these are just some of our recommended ones to get started with your learning. With all apps, it’s worth trying out a few to find out your way of learning and stick with the ones that work for you. Some are worth sticking with for a bit too as you might find it’s just a case of getting into language learning if you’ve not done it for a while.


Last Updated on October 11, 2019

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