Mandarin is commonly referred to as "Chinese", but in fact it is just one Chinese language of many. In the 19th century Mandarin started to become the common language of communication among all Chinese speech varieties. Therefore it is used in government agencies, media services, and as a language of instruction in schools. Nowadays, Mandarin is the most common Chinese language, and is also the official language of Mainland China, Taiwan, and one of the official languages of Singapore and the United Nations. Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world.
In an attempt to internationalise the language, the Chinese government introduced Pinyin, which is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into Latin script. It is also used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into computers. Pinyin has been universally employed for teaching standard Chinese in schools and universities across China, Europe, America and Australia.
The traditional perception of learning Chinese can be challenging and intimidating, but certainly not everything about Chinese is difficult. Whilst there are 23,000 characters in Chinese Dictionary, you only need approximately 1,000 to understand 90% of a newspaper. Chinese language is also very logical, unlike most languages in the world. The Chinese writing system is meaning-based instead of phonetic-based. Chinese grammar is actually very logical and intuitive. The basic sentence structure is the same as English. The words are not inflected, so there are no cases, genders or verb conjugations. After a laborious beginning of learning Chinese, you will find it rewarding to master such a complex and beautiful ancient language.