Changchun Yatai Football Club was established in 1996 by Jilin Yatai Group Company Limited. Having started out in the third tier, the team initially struggled and only gained promotion after a merger with a second tier side, Bayi Chaoneng, in 2000. The team have competed in the Chinese Super League since gaining promotion at the end of the 2005 season.
The club's run in the second tier of Chinese football lasted six seasons in total, although Changchun Yatai were denied promotion on two occasions before they eventually achieved it. First, in 2001, they finished in 2nd place, which would have been enough to secure a move up to the top flight. However, their promotion was cancelled due to match fixing allegations against the team. Then, in 2003, they won the division, but no clubs were promoted at the end of that season. This was due to the top division being re-branded as the Super League ahead of the 2004 season and reduced to 12 teams.
Since reaching the Super League, Changchun Yatai have exceeded all expectations. In their first season in the division, they finished in 4th place. Then, in 2007, they ended the campaign as champions. The club have competed twice in the AFC Champions League, in 2008 and 2010, although they have yet to make it beyond the group stage of the competition.
Chinese international Du Zhenyu and Honduran defender Samuel Caballero are amongst the team's most influential former talents. Both players received Super League MVP awards during their respective stays. Some of the side's other notable former players include Elvis Scott and Guillaume Dah Zadi.
Changchun Yatai play their home games at the Development Area Stadium. The venue first opened in 2002 and is able to hold a maximum of 25,000 spectators for the club's matches.