The importance of phonological awareness (PA) for the acquisition of literacy skills has been widely recognized. Across languages, PA is commonly examined using the Oddity test, however, for Chinese-speaking children, Pinyin invented spelling is recommended as being a more powerful tool to assess PA. However, it is still unclear whether this holds true for learners of Chinese as a second language (CSL). To address this issue, we administered an oddity test and a Pinyin invented spelling task to explore Chinese PA in 43 Arabic and 40 English CSL learners at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels. The results generated two major findings. First, Pinyin invented spelling revealed more significant cross-group differences in Chinese PA between the Arabic and English CSL learners than the oddity test. Second, the participants’ performance in Pinyin invented spelling was a stronger predictor of character-reading and character-writing skills than their performance in the oddity test. The overall findings suggest that Pinyin invented spelling may be a more powerful measurement of Chinese PA for CSL learners in comparison to the conventional test, in line with the findings reported for Chinese-speaking children. The theoretical implications for understanding the role of phonological skills in the growth of Chinese literacy skills and practical suggestions for measuring Chinese PA are proposed.