The National Treasury Management Agency has signed an agreement with a subsidiary of China's sovereign wealth fund which would allow the Chinese agency to invest in a range of assets in Ireland, including infrastructure and property.
The agreement was signed after Taoiseach Enda Kenny's meeting with the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jia Bao.
The memorandum of understanding was signed in Beijing with CIC International, a subsidiary of China Investment Corporation.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were present at the ceremony.
An NTMA statement said the agreement built on the existing dialogue between the agency and CIC International, and provided a framework for future co-operation.
"This memorandum represents a major initiative for enhanced co-operation and engagement in areas of common interest and we very much look forward to working with CIC International," said NTMA chief executive John Corrigan.
CIC Chairman Lou Jiwei said: "CIC International is a financial investor and seeks stable and sound financial returns over the long run. The memorandum signed today reflects our strong working relationship and shared commitment. It will be of valuable assistance for us in identifying and assessing potential opportunities in Ireland."
Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has said that a strategic partnership to be finalised tomorrow between Ireland and China will bring the relationship between the two countries to a new level. The agreement will formalise co-operation across a range of areas, including two-way investment, Irelands role as a gateway to Europe for China, science and technology, agriculture and food, culture, education and environmental protection. Seven other European counties have similar agreements with China.