Lula will aim to smooth over relations with China after ties deteriorated under his far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, while also positioning Brazil as a key player on the international stage by proposing roles for Brasilia and Beijing as mediators in Russia's war in Ukraine.
Accompanied by eight Cabinet ministers, Lula is overseeing the signing of at least 20 bilateral agreements.
China overtook the United States as Brazil's top trading partner in 2009 and is a major market for Brazilian soybeans, iron ore and oil. Brazil is the largest recipient of Chinese investment in Latin America, with money flowing particularly to high-tension electricity transmission lines and oil production.
Lula's visit was originally scheduled for March but was delayed after the 77-year-old caught pneumonia.