Qingdao Jonoon moved to the top of the table after Shandong Luneng suffered a surprise defeat at lowly Shanghai Shenhua on Saturday.
Qingdao overcame cellar-dwellers Tianjin Teda 2-1 courtesy of second-half goals from Bruno Meneghel and Zheng Long.
Vladimir Jovancic pulled a goal back for the hosts, converting a penalty with three minutes remaining but it proved nothing more than a consolation.
Qingdao are unbeaten this season, winning four of their opening five games and sit one point clear at the summit following Shandong's 2-1 loss to Shenhua.
Shandong opened the scoring in the 19th minute courtesy of Marius Niculae but a second-half double from Syrian striker Firas Al Khatib handed the home side maximum points, which elevated them out of the relegation zone and into 11th position.
In other results on Saturday, Changchun Yatai and Wuhan Zall shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw, while Guangzhou R&F and Shanghai SIPG played out a scoreless stalemate.