French President Nicolas Sarkozy has arrived in China for a visit that is expected to focus on economic links and international issues including Iran.
Mr Sarkozy is expected to press Chinese leader Hu Jintao over Iran
Mr Sarkozy, who is accompanied by business leaders, is hoping to sell nuclear reactors and Airbus planes.
On the Iran crisis, the French president is likely to urge his counterpart Hu Jintao to take a harder line over Tehran's nuclear programme.
It is Mr Sarkozy's first trip to Asia since his election in May.
He started his visit by telling French and Chinese business leaders that China should play a full part in the fight against global warming.
"It's not a question of asking China to give up its growth - we would not agree to it ourselves - but rather to make the choice of sustainable development," Mr Sarkozy said.
He urged China to let the yuan rise so as to limit China's growing trade surplus with Europe, an issue he also raised at a dinner with President Hu.
The French president's formal meetings begin on Monday.
France is hoping to secure the sale of two nuclear reactors to Beijing - for a total value of 5bn euros ($7.4bn), as well as more Airbus planes.
Correspondents say diplomatic talks will be dominated by Iran.
The French president has warned that it would be unacceptable if Tehran acquired nuclear weapons.
China - a permanent member of the UN Security Council, like France - has been reluctant to pursue further sanctions.
However, the BBC's James Reynolds in Beijing says China will be keen to play down any major differences with France.
It will want to reward Mr Sarkozy for being a rare Western leader who has not recently played host to the Dalai Lama, our correspondent adds.