So what's going on?
There have been worries about political and economic interference as Beijing pitches one part of that effort - a high-speed rail system - to Southeast Asian nations. "But it is noteworthy that none of the major western platforms for social media are even allowed to operate in China". Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp are blocked, as well as websites the authorities consider sensitive. Trump is mired in consistently low approval ratings at home and will encounter a newly emboldened Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng), who recently consolidated power in his country. Now, some people might call him the king of China.
But the Chinese authorities aren't beyond making exceptions to the rules. It has frozen out Taiwan from global bodies like the World Health Organization and managed to lean on two more countries this year to formally sever ties; only 20 countries in the world now officially recognize Taiwan.
The regime has for decades been criticised for a range of rights abuses including torture, rape and execution of perceived critics or those trying to flee the country.
After US allies Japan and South Korea gave the red-carpet treatment to Trump, Xi will offer him an extravagant "state visit-plus" with a tour of the Forbidden City, a military honour guard and a lavish banquet.
A USA official said both sides are "in sync" about wanting to minimize friction during the visit and recreate the positive tone of the Mar-a-Lago summit.
At an on-site artefact conservation lab, Trump praised the repairs to a 300-year-old rosewood cabinet once used by an emperor, and marvelled at the workmanship of an antique clock as "unbelievable".
"The President will tweet whenever he wants", one administration official told reporters aboard Air Force One while en route to China.
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After touring its three main halls, the two first couples watched three Peking opera performances that lasted about half an hour in the Changyinge Pavilion, which once served as the exclusive theatre for royal celebrations in imperial China. However, his fourth tweet, where he celebrates the one-year anniversary of his election win, was sent from an iPhone, data from Tweetdeck shows.
He also urged China to sever ties with Pyongyang and reiterated calls for Beijing to ramp up pressure.
During Xi's stay, Trump filled him in about a USA airstrike on a Syrian military installation over "the most handsome piece of chocolate cake".
Duterte, who rejected Trump's White House invitation earlier this year, recently told reporters in the Philippines, a USA treaty ally, that he would welcome Trump as "the important leader on this side of the planet".
Heads of state are usually given a low-key reception at the airport, with the real pomp and circumstance reserved for their arrival at the Great Hall of the People.
He did not elaborate but Trump is likely to press Xi to further restrict trade between China and North Korea, whose economic well-being depends on its commerce with the world's second largest economy.
"(Xi's) going to treat Trump nearly like an emperor", said Ming.
President Donald Trump says his welcome to Beijing was "unforgettable". TV station iFeng reported on Chinese microblog weibo, with a thumbs up emoji.