The Prime Minister is to pay a high-profile visit to China later this year
Number 10 sources said the Prime Minister will take up an invitation for talks made by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit she attended in his country's Hangzhou province last September.
The visit, expected to take place in the summer or early autumn, is being seen as an opportunity to develop new business links with the country that boasts the world's second largest economy.
A Downing Street spokesman said: "We can confirm that the Prime Minister will visit China later this year. An invitation was extended during the G20."
The planned visit would be "a new expression of the close relationship between Britain and China, something you have seen develop over the past few years", the spokesman said.
Mrs May shakes hands with President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit last September
We can confirm that the Prime Minister will visit China later this year
Downing Street spokesman
He added: "I would imagine that trade would form some part of the discussions."
The visit marks the latest effort to improve relations with Beijing, which suffered a setback shortly after Mrs May took office when she delayed a decision on the Chinese-backed Hinkley Point power plant.
Mrs May gave the green light to the Hinkley Point plant last September and has vowed to continue the "golden era" in Sino-UK relations, following on from the close ties developed by David Cameron and George Osborne.
Mrs May gave the green light to the Hinkley Point plant last September
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Margaret Thatcher shares a joke with Ronald Reagan, at No. 10 Downing Street
A trade deal with China would represent a major prize for the UK as it leaves the European Union.
China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi visited Downing Street in December and the two governments agreed that work this year would include "enhanced trade and investment" as well as security co-operation and efforts to tackle climate change, Downing Street said at the time.