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There are two problems with phonetic writing. 

  1. Omonims. How to recognise, what is "rouz" (it may be rows, rose, rhos, ...).
  2. Compactness. 施氏食狮史 is much shorter then "The Story of Mr. Shi Eating Lions" and much easier to understand then Shī-shì shí shī shǐ (again omonims).

Try to think, why we write 1, 2, 3, ... but (usually) not one, two, three. We learn a lot of characters, such as #$%@<>..., road signs, product signs, math signs, emoji, ...

Chinese is hard to learn, but easier to read.