Online Mandarin Class Comparison

girl in front of laptop smiling during online chinese lessons

Which online Chinese classes are the best? I’ve created an Online Mandarin Class Comparison chart of five companies that are popular in my Chinese learning circles. All the companies have experienced and qualified teachers, so what’s sets each apart? Check out the chart below or click on the links to skip to my review.

Online Chinese Class Comparison Chart

Online Chinese class comparison chart

Review of Online Chinese Classes

The four companies were selected based on how legitimate their website looks. All of these companies use their own proprietary software and do not require users to login through a third-party platform. They all offer fun and easy one-on-one online Chinese lessons.

Lingo Ace

LingoAce is based in Singapore and is the only company offering 25-minute and 55-minute online Mandarin Chinese classes for students ages 4-15. Please make sure your child is capable of following the teacher’s instructions and sitting through the entire class. The curriculum is taught in both Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. The teacher was friendly and very patient during the trial class. She seemed experienced with teaching younger children.

LingoAce Curriculum

My son was finally able to take the trial class on their proprietary iPad App. Again, we experienced tech issues. During the class, a chat box appeared and neither the teacher nor I could close the box so it covered part of the screen. My son wasn’t able to interact with the class with the chatbox open and at times could not see some of the lessons.

My son is conversationally fluent in Mandarin and can read about 300 Traditional Chinese characters. After answering a few questions about his Chinese speaking and reading ability, he was placed in Advanced Chinese Level 3. The lesson content was more academic than he is used to. The curriculum focused on reading in Simplified Chinese. He did not recognize many of the Characters. The teacher mentioned that we could request a Traditional Chinese lesson. How exciting to finally find online Chinese classes offered in Traditional Chinese!


Lingo Ace uses a point system instead of a dollar system for purchasing classes. It’s complex and not clear if one point is equivalent to one US dollar. I’m not sure why companies do this. Their basic pricing model is $30 per class or package deals starting at 25 classes for $750.

Use my referral link to sign up for a free LingoAce trial PLUS 9% off. Or use code 90FFJEANNE for existing users.

Lingo Bus

Lingo Bus is based in China with its headquarters in Beijing. They offer fun online Mandarin Chinese classes to students ages 4-15 years old. Parents can choose between the fluency course that focuses on listening and speaking, or the literacy course that focuses on reading and writing. The curriculum is taught in Simplified Chinese.

First Impression

The teacher was warm and made the class very fun and engaging. The interface was well-designed and the curriculum was appropriate for my child’s level. Lingo Bus’s lesson was well planned out and focused on learning the same set of characters with 4 different activities.

Lingo Bus Curriculum

Lingo Bus offers game-based lessons that are engaging and interactive for young learners. Although their classes are intended for ages 4-15, my daughter began taking Lingo Bus classes before her 4th birthday. She is conversationally fluent in Mandarin and can read about 300 characters.

I get a lot of questions about whether or not Lingo Bus is suitable for preschool-aged children. I would only suggest online classes for children that are capable of sitting through the class and following instructions from the teacher. If they cannot participate in class then it will not be worth your money.

The classes are tailored to each child’s Chinese level. My daughter has already surpassed her big brother by an entire level!

lingobus online chinese class chinese characters
lingobus online chinese class chinese characters

Lingo Bus Additional Resources

Lingo Bus users have full access to their extensive learning resources including books, printable worksheets, flashcards, and other goodies.

lingo bus digital book screenshot

Digital Books

The Lingo Bus e-book library has hundreds of digital books on a wide range of topics. Each book has an autoplay feature with audio and the option to turn Pinyin on/off.

lingobus digital flashcard

Digital Flashcards

Practice before and after class to reinforce character learning. These flashcards have audio to learn the proper pronunciation.

lingobus printable worksheet

Printable Chinese Character Worksheets

Practice writing each character to learn the stroke order.

Lingo Bus Pricing

Lingo Bus class packages start at 10 classes for $350. Every purchase includes full access to the extended learning resources library. They offer discounts regularly and the largest promotion takes place during the holidays during Black Friday through Chinese New Year.

Help a mama out and use this Lingo Bus Referral Link. At no additional cost to you, we both receive free classes if you purchase a package.

Panda Tree

Panda Tree’s headquarters are in California. I was excited to find a US company focusing on teaching Chinese. Panda Tree accepts students as young as age 2. This could be a good option for toddlers if you think your child can sit through a 25-minute class. The curriculum is taught in Simplified Chinese.

First Impression

Panda Tree is a web-based program using your internet browser. There’s no need to install software or an app. However, we had tech issues and it was glitchy. Some moments the screen is white instead of displaying an image.

Panda Tree Curriculum

This was my son’s first online Chinese class when he was 5-years-old. I had asked the teacher to call introduce herself as 姐姐 (big sister) instead of “Teacher”. At first, he was intrigued and curious about a stranger video chatting with him. Once he realized it was a class he lost interest. The lesson was way too easy for him. No Chinese characters we introduced and my son quickly got bored.

Panda Tree Online Chinese Class

Panda Tree Pricing

Panda tree class prices start at $25 per class or packages of 3 classes for $70.

Panda Tree Website

Speaking Duck

Speaking Duck is Singapore-based company offering online Mandarin Chinese classes for students ages 5-12. The curriculum is taught in Simplified Chinese.

First Impression

There were lots of emails upon signing up. I completely missed the confirmation email so I didn’t know I needed to install the software first. Installer instructions are in Chinese only. After downloading the software I was not able to get a code sent to my mobile to log in. The support rep was asking me to enter my user name but the input field only accepts phone numbers. I eventually gave up and closed the install window but for whatever reason tried to open it again, this time I got a different login screen and was able to input my user name instead of a phone number.

Speaking Duck Curriculum

With the software finally activated we could enter the classroom. By default, the classroom uses my laptop’s rear camera. Neither the teacher nor I could figure out how to switch the cameras but we used a workaround fix. The teacher seemed very experienced and was patient. She had no discernible accent, which I know is important to some parents.

I found the tools on the interface to be very small and not intuitive. My son didn’t know he could click on the pen icon to draw or change ink colors. The trial lesson was too complicated for my 5-year-old. The text on the interface was very small. The graphics were very busy, and again not intuitive what each task required of him. For example, the class was about shapes – triangle, square, and diamond – which he already knows in Mandarin but we haven’t learned the characters yet. Since he didn’t recognize the characters, the teacher displayed pinyin, but he couldn’t read them as he is in Kindergarten and learning to read this year. I think their expectations are too high since most are just beginning to read at age 5.

speaking duck online Chinese class shapes
speaking duck online Chinese class zheng

User Account 

One thing to note is that there isn’t an easy way to add profiles for multiple children. In fact, I can’t figure out how to make adjustments to my profile to switch my account to book classes for my daughter instead of my son. The booking process for individual classes is also strange. You can book by selecting a teacher, although there are no links to the teacher’s profile. The booking process is painfully slow.

Speaking Duck Pricing

Speaking Duck class packages start at 5 classes for $99.

Use this link to get 10% off Speaking Duck online Chinese classes.

Koala Know

Review coming soon!


This blog post about Online Mandarin Class Comparison reflects my own experience and opinions. I work for a company that is affiliated with Lingo Bus. I was not asked to write this post for any compensation nor do I received any discounts for any other these products. Please use my referral links if you decide to sign up for a free trial or subscribe to online Chinese classes. In some cases, I will receive a free class for my children if you purchase a package. Help a mama out with some freebies! Kids are expensive 🙂

Looking for more ideas to teach your child Chinese? Check out my Chinese learning resources page.

11 thoughts on “Online Mandarin Class Comparison

  1. Qian Feng says:

    hi thanks for putting up the comparison. I tried Lingobus and love to sign up for my kid. If you dont mind sharing your referral code, we can both get some free classes if you are interested.

  2. Meg says:

    If I’m in my 30s but stay at home can I still take lingo bus or any of these classes for myself. I got kind of bored with duolingo and need beginners classes

    • IM says:

      Hi Meg, if you’re looking for 1-to-1 online Chinese lessons for beginners, we at Instant Mandarin ( provide these for beginners too. Please visit our site to sign up for a free trial lesson.

    • Karla Unger-Laffin says:

      I’m 42, I saw the responses but I think I’d like to do the kids classes. I too, am bored with duo lingo and also I learn better with games and children’s books and TV shows when introducing myself to a new language…that and soap operas but, if I wanted to, is that possible?
      Also with my 20 year old autistic son…could he enroll? He does learn language on a elementary school level and I like to intro him to all different types of communication for practice and growth..

      • Jeanne Chang says:

        Hi Meg, Thank you for your inquiry. Private tutors from italki or Preply should be able to teach you and your son together. I am not sure about the companies with set curriculums as the content really is developed to appeal to young children. I suggest reaching out to the online class provider that you are interested in to see if they can accommodate.

  3. Karen says:

    Based in part on your blog, I signed up for a trial lesson and package with LingoAce.

    Without my knowledge or consent, LingoAce collected ~10 hours of full video and audio recordings of my child, including one recording that is ~8 months old. LingoAce refuses to delete my son’s data, even though no legitimate business rationale can be identified.

    I have asked that these recordings be stopped and any existing recordings deleted, but LingoAce refuses.

    “About being recorded, at the moment we are not able to stop the recording of the class. The recording is being done to monitor the Childs progress which you can playback from time to time. We cannot delete the recordings as well. I have forwarded this inquiry to our IT and hopefully we will have this feature in the future.” (response received August 18, initial request to delete was made August 1, 2021)

    I then spoke with LingoAce this morning and was told the recordings are in any case for parental use only.

    I believe LingoAce is in violation of child online privacy and general privacy acts, including some specific to California – where I am located, and LingoAce has its US headquarters. I am aware this data could also be extremely profitable, including for child facial or audio recognition. I have already reported my concerns to the State Attorney General, the FTC, Consumer Watchdog, etc.

    • Jeanne Chang says:

      Hello Karen, thank you for expressing your concerns. Recording of classes is common practice with U.S. and foreign online class providers. LingoAce does mention this in their privacy policy. I do understand that some parents may not be comfortable with their children being recorded. I do not work for LingoAce but will forward your message to the customer support team.

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