Miss China, Zhang Zilin, has been crowned Miss World 2007 in the Chinese resort of Sanya, the first time an East Asian contestant has won.
The audience in the 2,000-seat Beauty Crown Theatre cheered with delight as the 23-year-old was voted the winner in the glittering event on Hainan Island.
The secretary from Beijing had been one of the bookmakers' favourites to win.
Miss Angola, Micaela Reis, was the runner-up, while Miss Mexico, Carolina Moran Gordillo, came third.
Contestants were rated on an array of disciplines, including physical fitness, style, dress, personality and beauty.
The 57th Miss World beauty pageant was held to coincide with World Aids Day in an effort to raise awareness of the disease.
The campaign also saw the eldest daughter of the former South African President, Nelson Mandela, serve on the contest's panel of nine judges. Mr Mandela's son, Makgatho, died of Aids in 2005.
Shortly before it was announced that she had beaten 105 other contestants to the title, Miss China she had wanted to "use the power and beauty of Miss World to support those in need".
China only lifted a ban on beauty contests shortly before it hosted the 2003 event.
The 2002 final had to be moved from Nigeria to London after more than 200 people died in clashes sparked when a newspaper suggested the Prophet Muhammad would have chosen a wife from the contestants had he been alive.
Miss World has also faced criticism from feminists and social conservatives who argue it demeans women.
But its organisers say it tests more than beauty, and that around two billion people watch the contest every year.