French Polynesia's president, Edouard Fritch, and two of his ministers have flown to China for an official visit.
Their week-long trip was only announced when they were leaving for Beijing.
The visit will include a stop in Shanghai for discussions with potential investors as economic ties have picked up momentum.
Three weeks ago, the French Polynesian government and Chinese investors formally launched a massive aquaculture project on Hao atoll, expected to cost 1.5 billion US dollars.
Tourism links have been feeble because there are no direct air links and visa issues have been slow to be worked through.