China's state-owned aerospace group is interesting in buying all or part of all six Airbus factories, including the Filton plant in Bristol.
The plants, which have hundreds of Midland suppliers, are being sold off by Airbus owner EADS as it aims to save #2 billion.
Lin Zuo Ming, chairman of China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC 1), said his company wanted to develop the plants and make them more competitive.
China's interest in the Airbus factories could be part of its investment in overseas ventures. The Chinese government could be pumping part of its #100 billion acquisition war chest in UK firms after acquiring part of influential private equity group Blackstone. Officials involved in China's new State Investment Company, due to be launched later this year, have revealed British blue chip firms could be targeted in the coming months.
But the Chinese could face rival bidders for Filton, whose 6,500 staff manufacture composite wing components for new Airbus models.
Redditch-based GKN and American rival Spiit are also in the running for the factories, with GKN also thought to be interested in two French sites. Mr Lin said: "If we succeed in buying or partnering these six facilities, we will develop them and be a more competitive supplier to Airbus."
The move would spur further collaboration between AVIC 1 and Airbus which is keen to to source more of its components overseas and is building a Chinese assembly plant for the A320 family of aircraft.
Boeing and Airbus are turning to Chinese and other lower cost Asian manufacturers to supply components for their new models.
AVIC 1, which has bases around Xian in central China, already supplies the rudder for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.