While the importance of reading development for understanding Chinese literacy acquisition and impairment is well documented, what underlies Chinese spelling development is not well understood. Although some spelling development theories have been proposed and have provided rich and detailed descriptions of the processes and skills involved in spelling development, the current understanding of spelling, at least in Chinese, is fragmented because many factors that influence spelling acquisition have been studied in various fields and have not been unified into a single coherent model. In addition, theories in alphabetic languages, which focus on phonological skills, are not easily applied to Chinese. Furthermore, few discuss spelling development with a particular focus on the complexity of the Chinese writing system. This review identifies the critical skills and knowledge of learning to spell Chinese that are necessary and develops a Chinese spelling model based on the background of features of the Chinese writing system. Four types of skills are included in the model, namely, phonological, visual-motor, visual-orthographic, and semantic skills. In addition, the development of these skills is discussed. The conceptual model indicates that Chinese spelling development relies more on pure visual-motor and phonological skills in the early stages and gradually depends more on visual-orthographic and semantic skills subsequently, once the basic skills are acquired. Theoretically, the proposed model integrates different component skills that are needed in Chinese spelling according to the features of the Chinese writing system. Practically, the proposed model points to a new way of understanding and diagnosing spelling difficulties in Chinese.