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10 Chinese Youtube Videos and Channels to Boost Your Chinese Vocabulary

Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?

Using native content to learn a foreign language is critical to your success as a language learner. Usually you learn the alphabet before immersing yourself in native YouTube videos, but learning a language like Chinese, which doesn’t use an alphabet, is different from learning a language like French.

Watching videos in Chinese is priceless for your listening and reading skills. With the growing number of Chinese content creators using YouTube as their platform, it’s getting easier and easier to find native content for learning Chinese. You now have cooking, gaming, crafting and many other videos for you to practice listening skills along with captions, transcripts and subtitles to practice reading skills.

This guide provides help with finding Chinese videos to watch, tips for using YouTube subtitles, and Chinese video recommendations you could use as a starting point. Have fun boosting your Chinese vocabulary!

How to Search for Chinese YouTube Videos

To search for and watch YouTube videos in Chinese, you have three basic options:

Option 1

Type in “learn Chinese” or “learn Mandarin Chinese” into the YouTube search bar. You will find results made for English-speakers and beginners. A lot of videos about how to learn Chinese will also show up.

Option 2

Type in “xue zhongwen” into the YouTube search bar. YouTube, and even Google, is pretty good at guessing the tones and Chinese characters you are trying to type using an English keyboard. You will mostly find results tailored for children and beginners. A few videos for intermediate learners will also show up.

Option 3

Type in whatever you’re looking for in Chinese into the YouTube search bar. For example, if you’re looking for gaming videos, you can type “游戏,” “you2 xi4” or even just “youxi” into the search bar. By doing this, you’ll find exactly the content you’re looking for, but some of the results may be too easy or too advanced for your level.

If you don’t know the word for the content you’re looking for, ask a Chinese-speaker or use an online translating tool. Most of the time, translating tools like Google Translate are accurate for looking up one word.

How to Translate YouTube Subtitles into Another Language

When a YouTube video offers subtitles or captions, you can hover over the bottom of the video and click the rectangle with “cc” in the middle. This will turn on closed captioning (cc), which shows subtitles.

If you need the YouTube video to show subtitles or captions for a different language, you can click the gear icon next to cc, called settings. It will show a menu where you can click Subtitles/CC and be presented with all the human-translated captioning options.

If the options do not offer the language you need, you can click “Auto-translate,” which will offer machine-translated captions for the language of your choice. The translations are not the most accurate, but can provide you with an idea of what is being said in the video.

To find the transcript for your video, click on the ellipsis or icon with three dots next to the “like,” “dislike,” and “share” buttons. It will display a menu, and you can click on “Show transcript.” It will show you the captions with timestamps, so you can take your time reading the captions or jump to a different location in the video.

Not all YouTube videos come with captions, subtitles or transcripts. You can try using browser extensions, such as Language Reactor, but they vary in quality, effectiveness and reliability.

Chinese YouTube Channels

Please keep in mind that the internet changes, so online videos are added and deleted all the time. Content creators may also add subtitles for more languages or change their content. Last, Chinese isn’t only spoken in China, so some of the creators below speak Chinese but have based their channel elsewhere, such as in Malaysia or the United States.

1. Vidol TV

Vidol TV offers dramas, variety shows and live broadcasts to watch. If you’re into romance, there are plenty of options along with some animal, sports, comedy, talk shows and game shows.

If you’re into learning about celebrities, I recommend their “exclusive interview” series Vidol 獨家專訪 (dú jiā zhuān fǎng). Their “entertainment – big and small things” series 娛樂大小事 (yú lè dà xiǎo shì) offer a variety of shorter videos, such as 影帝吳慷仁到底多會演? or “can film ruler Wu Kangren perform more in the end?” which also features many other celebrities.

Their videos are more suitable for upper intermediate and advanced learners because of the many accents you may hear. Lots of their videos come with traditional Chinese subtitles. You can learn all kinds of words from these videos, so find some videos you like and learn words that show off your personality.

2. TGOP (This Group Of People)

Another YouTube channel from Taiwan, TGOP produces videos featuring jokes and comedy skits. Their videos are very popular with young adults and usually focus on pointing out the humor in everyday situations, so beginners will know some of the vocabulary they use.

Their videos are fast-paced however, so they better suit intermediate learners and would be useful as listening practice. All videos feature traditional Chinese subtitles, and most also have English subtitles. To start out, I recommend “classic quotations for shopping” or 購物的經典語錄 gòu wù de jīng diǎn yǔ lù.

3. iQIYI 爱奇艺

“iQIYI” or 爱奇艺 (ài qí yì), located in Singapore, offers films and TV shows with multilingual subtitles. They mostly post clips, overviews and trailers on their YouTube channel, but they also post full episodes for a few of their series. Their channel is helpful for finding newer content to watch.

They provide subtitles using both traditional and simplified Chinese characters. Here’s a clip from episode eight of one of their popular series called “Bright Eyes in the Dark” in English: 他从火光中走. These characters are read as tā cóng huǒ guāng zhōng zǒu and literally mean “he walked in the fire.”

Historical dramas are popular in China, with most stories starting out as books before becoming TV series. If you choose to watch these, you’ll end up learning some frequently-used words, such as 等等 or 情緒, but you’ll also learn some rarely-used and highly-specific words, such as 暫停 or 假惺惺. Yet you will learn so much about the Chinese culture and heritage.

For example, I’ve spent so many hours watching 苍兰诀 (cāng lán jué) or “Love Between Fairy and Devil.” I took an interest in the food flower cake that the two lead characters were baking together, and so did many other fans of the show. Chinese netizen Hu Meiniang soon posted how she made the snacks on Weibo so the rest of us could learn.

4. 李子柒 Liziqi

Li Ziqi or 李子柒 (lǐ zǐ qī) focuses on handicrafts, food and the cultural heritage of China. She is one of the leaders of Chinese YouTube, with subscribers and fans all over the world. She provides subtitles in English and many other languages.

Her content shows you Chinese characters on the screen, so it’s useful for learning the Chinese names of ingredients and items and for learning about Chinese lifestyles and culture. This way, you’ll mostly learn vocabulary related to recipes, crafts and family. It will be difficult to look up the words, because her videos don’t tell you how the characters are pronounced or written.

She made a helpful special program on traditional Chinese snacks for the New Year 年货小零食特辑 -花生瓜子糖葫芦,肉干果脯雪花酥.

5. 曼食慢语 Amanda Tastes

Amanda Tastes or 曼食慢语 (màn shí màn yǔ) is a food blogger in Shanghai who teaches cooking and recipes. Her viewers come from all over the globe. In this video, she teaches viewers how to make a matcha mousse cake.

She provides Chinese subtitles for her videos, and most of her videos also offer captions in English. She uses simplified Chinese characters, and her videos use simple vocabulary with lots of repetition, making her videos useful for beginners.

6. Chinese with Mandarin HQ

Mandarin HQ provides videos, often less than 15 minutes, that show and explain how Chinese is used in everyday life. Based in the United States, they cater to English-speakers who are learning Mandarin. Their videos explain grammar, characters, pronunciation and expressions.

Their content is sorted by topics, so you can easily find and focus on topics you know you need more practice with. Many of their videos also clearly say each word and move at a slow-pace, so all learners can follow along. This is a quick way to pick up practical and frequently-used vocabulary words.

Their videos are ideal for beginners and intermediate learners, covering everything from pronunciation to real-life dialogue. They offer both English and Chinese subtitles, using simplified Chinese characters. For example, here is a video on common expressions to say when receiving a gift.

7. 老高與小茉 Mr & Mrs Gao

Based in Singapore, Mr. and Mrs. Gao or 老高與小茉 (lǎo gāo yǔ xiǎo mò) upload content involving things they find interesting, such as their reactions to popular media and palm reading techniques. Their channel covers a lot of topics and provides you insight into how others react to current events, pop culture and media. Their videos are longer, around 20 to 40 minutes each, and are mostly scripted but still conversational.

Most viewers enjoy their science content. One of their more popular videos, 前往地球中心的旅行,超出你想象的地下世界, talks about how they would “travel to the center of the earth, beyond the underground world you imagine.” They provide traditional Chinese subtitles.

I recommend this channel to at least upper-intermediate learners, because their videos use topic-specific language. If you’re really interested in their topics, you can quickly learn vocabulary that’s relevant to you, though.

8. JO Channel

The JO Channel offers videos with toy unboxing and parent-child games and activities. Their videos offer dialogue between the family members, which is fairly simple and has useful, common vocabulary, along with lots of context. This makes their videos suitable for beginners.

Families liked their “The Floor is Lava” video. 地上有岩漿短劇~爸爸和孩子們的故事! literally translates to “Lava is on the ground skit – a dad and children’s narrative.” Their channel is based in Malaysia, and they provide both English and traditional Chinese subtitles.

9. Thomas阿福

Showing places in both China and Germany, Thomas Afu’s videos feature challenges, cultural aspects, food and travel, life stories, and his weight-loss journey. His videos are inspired by his life in a multicultural Chinese-German family. I liked the natural interactions in his food tour video in Xi’an, West China.

His videos feature a lot of real dialogue, so they are suitable for all levels of Chinese learners. You’ll learn some slang words and hear everyday vocabulary words at a natural speed and blend. Most of his videos are in Chinese, but a few are in English or German.

10. Mandarin Corner

Mandarin Corner’s videos feature dialogues and conversations, grammar explanations, audio podcasts with transcripts and short HSK video courses. Their topic-based videos cover opinion-based questions, interviews and some bold topics. Their channel is useful for all levels of Chinese learners, including those relearning Chinese after a long break.

Chinese learners can benefit from the more immersive environment, and if you’re planning to take the HSK test, Mandarin Corner covers HSK vocabulary and casual conversations. If you’re an intermediate or advanced learner, I’d recommend their HSK Level 6 video “What is Kung Fu Really Like in China?”. They offer English, pinyin and Chinese subtitles, and they focus on simplified Chinese characters.

Would you like even more Chinese videos to watch?

China’s Versions of YouTube

Content creators post Chinese videos on plenty of other platforms. If you’re searching for more Chinese language content to watch, you can check out popular video platforms used in China. If you’re specifically looking for Chinese videos for children or beginners, then check out this list of child-friendly cartoons with links to where you can watch them.

If you want to watch Chinese videos, but you don’t want to spend time finding them, there are courses that have lots of videos pre-selected for you. For example, if you’re interested in learning conversational Chinese, I recommend checking out the review that advanced Chinese learner Shannon Kennedy posted about YoYo Chinese. YoYo Chinese created a mostly video-based course that’ll let you pick up Chinese naturally through dialogues with brief explanations and study materials.

Now you have an excuse to spend time watching YouTube videos by using them to practice listening and reading Chinese. Have fun watching and learning!

author headshot

Serena Reese

School Teacher

Serena teaches science, art, and social studies to elementary and middle school students. She loves to write, and never stops learning new things.


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