||The article examines China’s emergence over the past decade as a net donor, and the implications of this status in global development. The analysis begins by outlining China’s rise as a net donor, drawing comparisons in two-way aid flows with the other rising states, specifically Brazil, South Africa and India, and then turns to the implications of China’s rise as an aid sender. The central argument is that conceptualizing China’s rise as a ‘net donor’ is crucial for understanding the hybrid position that China has come to occupy in the global aid system, and the consequences of this positioning. Although China has achieved remarkable success with its own development, rather than join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) regime of traditional donors, the Chinese Communist Party and government leadership has chosen instead to continue to self-identify with the countries of the South, and to construct ties of South–South cooperation outside of DAC arrangements. The Chinese leadership is trying to stake out an unprecedented position in the global aid system, traversing the North–South divide, despite the fact that China has already joined the ranks of world economic powers.