Chinese premier Wen Jiabao arrived at Downing Street today for talks with David Cameron expected to seal more than £1 billion of deals for British business.
Mr Wen, accompanied by a large entourage, posed for photographs with the Prime Minister before heading into Number 10.
The two leaders are to sign an agreement enabling UK firms to exploit opportunities beyond Beijing and Shanghai in China's fast-growing regional cities, creating opportunities in architecture, civil engineering and research and development.
The British poultry market is to be allowed to export to China and deals for the supply of pigs are also to be agreed at the summit between the two countries.
As well as helping to support economic growth by promoting business opportunities in China, the gathering is also seen as a chance to engage Chinese leaders on the country's dubious human rights record.
Downing Street regards freedom of speech and the rule of law as essential to the long-term prosperity and stability of the world's fastest-growing major economy.
Mr Cameron will be joined for the UK-China Summit by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Chancellor George Osborne.
Other items on the agenda include nurturing cultural and educational ties between the two countries and co-operation on global issues including security and climate change.
Mr Wen, who arrived in the UK on Saturday night and visited Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and Longbridge car plant in Birmingham yesterday, is accompanied by other high-ranking members of the Chinese government.
He and his delegation faced human rights protests as they arrived at Longbridge, where several dozen protesters with banners and loudspeakers had gathered outside the factory.
Yellow-shirted supporters of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement were among those waving placards denouncing China's human rights record.
"Cameron and Wen. Human rights before trade," their banners read.
Noisy protesters and supporters of Mr Wen also gathered outside London's Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel in anticipation of the Chinese premier's arrival.
Around 40 activists chanted "shame on China" and held banners reading "Tibet will be free".
But they were outnumbered by around twice as many pro-China demonstrators. Many waved Chinese and UK flags and one man banged a large drum.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said Mr Wen's visit would mark "the next step in our strengthened relationship" with China.
"China's rapid economic rise is good news for the UK. It means more money flowing into our economies and has the potential to create more jobs and investment opportunities for British business at home and in China.
"The summit will be an opportunity to tap that potential and to continue to work closely with China to find global solutions to a range of issues from climate change to global security."