Gordon Brown has said a planned trading boom between the UK and China could create "tens of thousands" of British jobs.
Speaking in Beijing at the start of a five-day tour of China and India, the prime minister said he wanted trade between the two countries to increase by 50 per cent by 2010.
The relationship between China and Britain will be "absolutely crucial" to the success of the global economy, he said.
Mr Brown met with Chinese premier Wen Jiabo to agree targets to increase two-way trade to $60 billion (£30 billion) over the next two years. Trading between the two countries is currently worth $40 billion (£20.2 billion) a year.
At a joint press conference Mr Brown said: "I believe that tens of thousands of jobs in Britain for British workers can be created by the closer cooperation between our two countries.
"It's true we are able to sell to China not just financial and business services and environmental technologies, but also a whole range of British brands that are now becoming very popular among the rising number of Chinese consumers."
Mr Brown also set targets for 100 new Chinese companies to invest in the UK by 2010, saying he wants Britain to be the number one destination of choice for Chinese companies investing abroad.
The prime minister continued: "Amidst the global economic difficulties and turbulence, the importance of China and our growing relationship is absolutely crucial to the success of the global economy as a whole."
Mr Brown is visiting China with business secretary John Hutton and trade minister Lord Digby Jones.
He is also accompanied by more than 20 British and European business figures including Sir Richard Branson and Richard Lambert.