Jin Daxing set the clubhouse target at eight under on day one of the Volvo China Open but the home favourite had a pack of European Tour Members chasing him at Topwin Golf & Country Club.
The World Number 1,426 was playing just his eighth European Tour event with only one made cut on his debut in 2012 but he was putting on an excellent show in Beijing.
The 25 year old was bogey-free in shooting a 64 to sit a shot ahead of Hero Indian Open champion Matt Wallace and two clear of Swede Alexander Björk and Zimbabwean Scott Vincent.
Scotland's Scott Jamieson was then at five under, one ahead of a group of nine players at four under.
South African Dean Burmester set the early pace as he opened with a par but then made three birdies in a row and added another gain on the 15th to turn in 32.
Björk arrived in Beijing off the back of a tie for third at last week's Trophée Hassan II and he made an eagle on the 15th and a birdie on the next, while Englishman Wallace had birdies on the 11th, 12th, 15th, 17th and a bogey on the 16th.
The playing partners then both birdied the 18th to make it a three-way tie at the top.
A Wallace birdie on the third from 20 feet handed him the solo lead but he bogeyed the next and was passed by Björk, who made a gain on the fifth from eight feet.
He was joined at the top by Jin who, after picking up shots on the tenth, 12th and 14th, made back-to-back gains on the 18th - courtesy of a monster putt - and first thanks to stunning approach.
Björk then birdied the eighth but with Wallace making an eagle after putting his second to five feet, the duo were tied at the top on six under.
A Wallace birdie on the ninth then saw him set the target but he would not be at the top of the leaderboard for long.
Jin birdied the seventh and then made an eagle of his own when he chipped in on the eighth to leapfrog into top spot.
Vincent bogeyed the second but birdied the third, fourth and seventh before eagling the eighth to turn in 32. He made birdies on the 13th and 15th on the back nine.
Jamieson was bogey-free in his round, making gains on the 13th and 15th before matching Wallace's eagle-birdie finish.
Frenchman Julien Guerrier, Indian Gaganjeet Bhullar and Thailand's Panuphol Pittayarat were bogey-free in their 68s to sit at four under alongside Swede Marcus Kinhult, Americans David Lipsky and Johannes Veerman, Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, Italian Andrea Pavan and Chinese amateur Lin Yuxin.
Defending champion Alexander Levy was in the group five shots off the lead, while Burmester played the front nine in 39 slip to one under.