For language learners, watching Chinese shows is a fun way to learn commonly spoken phrases and expand your Chinese vocabulary. With so many options, you are sure to find a show you enjoy watching to improve your Chinese skills. Hearing a language helps to reinforce learning while visual stimulation can increase engagement and certainly enjoyment! Chinese language programming is a great option to add to your language learning toolkit.
These are my top recommendations for popular streaming services to watch Chinese language content for free or with a subscription. While there are many websites where you can watch Chinese content, this is a list of trusted and safe platforms to watch Chinese shows and movies for kids and adults.
Netflix might be my favorite app to watch Chinese language content. Since my family is from Taiwan, I am very excited about all the Taiwanese dramas available on Netflix.
How Much Does Netflix Cost?
Netflix offers 3 monthly subscription plans:
- Basic $9.99 USD
- Standard $15.49 USD
- Premium $19.99 USD
What Chinese language options does Netflix offer?
Netflix has content from Taiwan and China. When available, you can select Mandarin Guoyu for Taiwanese Mandarin or Mandarin Putonghua for Beijing Mandarin. There are also quite a few shows and movies available to watch in Cantonese on Netflix. There’s something about hearing my kids laugh at local Taiwanese slang in a mainstream cartoon that just makes my heart swell.
- Mandarin (Guoyu)
- Mandarin (Putonghua)
- Traditional Chinese
- Simplified Chinese
The subtitles do not always match the audio. For example, if you choose Mandarin Guoyu audio with Simplified Chinese subtitles, the characters may not match the audio.
How to search for Chinese language shows and movies on Netflix
Here is a step-by-step guide. You can use this method to search for any language available on Netflix.
Netflix User Interface Language
Since I am in the United States, the default language is English. You can change the display language to Chinese, which for me shows Traditional Chinese characters. I do not see any way to select Simplified. Here is a step-by-step guide to change your language settings on Netflix.
How to find all the Netflix shows and movies from Taiwan
While Viki doesn’t have content for kids, it has a huge library of shows and movies to watch when the kids are in bed. Viki is my favorite streaming service to watch content from Taiwan and China that is not available on Netflix. If you are a K-drama or J-drama fan, you are in luck because Viki has tons of Korean and Japanese shows too.
Rakuten Viki is a Japanese-owned company with headquarters in Silicon Valley. I’m crediting location for why Viki’s user interface and user experience are that much smoother to than streaming services out of China.
How Much Does Rakuten Viki Cost?
With Viki, you can watch many shows for free or pay only for the movies you want to watch, starting at just $1.99 USD. In addition, Viki offers 4 ways to watch:
- Free content with ads
- On-Demand starting at $0.99 USD
- Monthly Standard $4.99 USD
- Monthly Plus $9.99 USD
What Chinese language content does Rakuten Viki offer?
Viki currently offers 437 shows and 138 movies from China. The service offers 75 shows and 17 movies from Taiwan.
The streaming content does not have the option to choose between Mandarin from China vs Taiwan. The show or movie will have original audio from the country where it was produced.
- Simplified Chinese
Rakuten Viki User Interface Language
I am in the United States and the app automatically displays in English, as does the website. You can switch between Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese.
CatchPlay is the largest provider of premium movie content in Taiwan, featuring exclusive content from Taiwan, Disney, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, and Paramount, international independent films, and drama series worldwide. CatchPlay’s premium user experience is available in Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia (or anywhere using a VPN).
So far I have found several hard-to-find Mandarin dubbed animated movies—Minions, Sing 1 & 2, Mirai, Princess Mononoke, Despicable Me 1,2, & 3, Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2, The Nut Job 1 & 2, Spirited Away, Paw Patrol: The Movie, Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, Doraemon 1 & 2, Care bears, The Secret Life of Pets 1 & 2, Ponyo, and more!
How much does CatchPlay cost?
- Free Members can watch 10 selected movies and shows per month
- CP+ Unlimited for NTD $210 ($7 USD)
- Unlimited Combo with CP and HBO Go for NTD $270 ($9 USD)
What Chinese language content does CatchPlay offer?
The show or movie will have original audio from the country where it was produced with many movies dubbed in Mandarin.
CatchPlay User Interface Language
I am in the United State using a VPN to access CatchPlay. The interface is in English and I can’t find a way to change to another language.
iQiyi is the leader in entertainment streaming from China. Watch Chinese dramas, Korean dramas, Thai dramas, anime, variety shows and movies through iQiyi’s mobile apps and website.
How much does iQiyi cost?
- Free content with ads
- Yearly Subscription $99.99 USD
- Monthly Subscription $0.99 USD
What Chinese language content does iQiyi offer?
There are endless options to watch from China, but not surprisingly little content from Taiwan. iQiyi does have movies from Hong Kong but no Cantonese language content for kids.
The streaming content does not have the option to choose audio languages. The show or movie will have original audio from the country where it was produced.
- Simplified Chinese
- Traditional Chinese (when available)
iQiyi User Interface Language
I am in the United States and the app automatically displays in English as does the website. You can switch between Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese.
Cons with using iQiyi
- The app will install on an iPad, but the library only works in portrait mode. Once a video starts you can rotate the screen.
- Lots of ads if you use the freemium version. You must watch 6 ads before any show starts and after each show, a spammy pop-up ad takes over the entire screen. This might be a problem if kids click on the ads.
Did you know that YouTube is considered the second-largest search engine? Yep, you read that right, YouTube is a search engine! There is nothing you can’t find on Youtube and it’s all free if you don’t mind the ads.
There is a YouTube Kids app, however, the content is very limited for Chinese language learners. I do know that YouTube is working on improving the YouTube Kids apps so try it out and see if it works for you. I created a filterable list of Chinese language shows for kids on YouTube. Although I try to keep my lists updated, keep in mind it is Youtube and sometimes content is removed or the channel is no longer maintained.
How much does YouTube cost?
- Free with ads
- Monthly Premium $11.99 USD
- Yearly Premium $119.99 USD
How to find Chinese language shows on YouTube
One way I have found more content on Youtube is to input the Chinese characters for the search term I am looking for. If you do not read Chinese or do not know how to type Chinese, just use Google Translate and copy and paste the phrase into YouTube’s search bar. Whether you input Traditional Chinese charters or Simplified, both results will display.
Try to find the Chinese name of the show you are watching. For example, if you want to find Doraemon, search for “哆啦A梦” or the traditional old-school name “小叮噹”.
Cons with using YouTube
- When my children are on YouTube, I have to supervise them to make sure they don’t encounter inappropriate content. That happens more often than you expect. Once my son was watching Paw Patrol and a commercial for a horror film came on. Thank goodness I caught it before he could be traumatized.
Many of us with children learning Chinese have been long awaiting for Disney+ to include Chinese audio in their streaming service. Finally, we can watch some of our favorites in Chinese, including new movies such as Lilo+Stitch, Luca, Finding Nemo, and Shang-Chi.
How much does Disney+ cost?
Disney+ offers two subscription models
- Monthly $7.99
- Yearly $79.99
What Chinese language content does Disney+ offer?
- Taiwanese Mandarin
- Chinese (Hong Kong)
- Chinese (Simplified)
- Chinese (Traditional)
If you have a preschooler that is learning Chinese, the 儿歌点点 app is for you. You can find many of the most popular cartoons in Chinese, such as Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Pink Fong, Pokoyo, My Little Ponies, and more! There are even some live-action shows.
How much does 儿歌点点 cost?
What Chinese language content does 儿歌点点 offer?
Most of the content is in Mandarin, however, there is a tab for English with a small list of shows.
儿歌点点 User Interface Language
The app interface displays Simplified Chinese characters only. If you can’t read Chinese, it’s a bit difficult to navigate the app, however, my kids recognize the cartoon characters and it hasn’t been an issue.
You can download the 儿歌点点 IOS APP. I was not able to find this service on Google Play but it does look like there is an android version available.
Cons with using 儿歌点点
- Chinese-only user interface
- App is a bit buggy. Some tabs lead to nothing but a blank white page
How to use a VPN to watch even more Chinese-language shows!
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. In simple terms, a VPN allows you to change your virtual location to access websites outside of your region/country.
Is it safe to use a VPN?
A VPN protects your privacy by encrypting your data and masking your IP address while hiding your browsing activity.
What can I use a VPN on?
Use a VPN on your computer, smartphone, web browser, smart TVs, and gaming consoles.
How to install a VPN?
Head to PureVPN and install the app, create an account, and select a location. You’ll be ready to stream more content in minutes. It’s that easy!
How much does PureVPN cost?
- As low as $1.49 USD for a 2-year subscription
- $3.24 USD for a 1-year subscription
- $10.95 USD for one month
There is no free trial for PureVPN but they do offer a 31-Day Money-Back Guarantee