Chinese duo Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng beat Blair and Adcock
England coach Julian Robertson admitted China will be tough to topple at the world team championships after a 5-0 opening defeat to the hosts.
Robertson thought a win in the opening match, the men's doubles, could have lead to an upset in Guangzhou.
But Robert Blair and Christopher Adcock lost 21-15 21-14 in 34 minutes and Robertson said: "Whoever plays them needs to be on their 'A' game.
"We knew we had to get a win in the first match to get the momentum going."
Last month, Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy told BBC Sport the team could be bigger than China by the 2012 Olympics.
China are seeded third as they aim for their seventh victory in the 11th running of the Sudirman Cup tournament.
Denmark, top seeds despite never having won the Cup, are in Group 1A along with Malaysia, three-times winners Korea and Hong Kong China.
England, bronze medallists in 2007 face Indonesia and Japan in their remaining matches in group 1B.
The top two in each group go into the semi-finals on 16 May, with the final the following day.
Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson - who missed the opening defeat - could win his 100th England cap during the group stages.
Scotland are in Group 3B, alongside India, Ukraine and Australia, with the best of their eight teams in that tier winning promotion to Group 2 for next year.
Chris Adcock, Robert Blair, Anthony Clark, Rajiv Ouseph, Nathan Robertson, Andrew Smith, Elizabeth Cann, Donna Kellogg, Sarah Walker, Jennifer Wallwork, Gabby White