Ma Zengyu scored 16 points to lead China to a 66-57 victory over the Czech Republic on Saturday in their Group A opener, the first game of the women's Olympic basketball competition.
China held double-digit leads in the first and second halves, but needed a 13-4 spurt to end the game to seal the victory.
The gritty Czech Republic never led after scoring the first basket of the game, but battled back to tie the game twice - once at 24 and again at 53 with 7:34 to play.
But China used a couple of missed shots by the Czechs to pull away down the stretch and surprise the 2010 World Championship silver medalists.
China plays Croatia on Monday, and the Czech Republic takes on Turkey.