"We are excited to present the best players in the world in Beijing for our fans. Rafael Nadal is a global superstar and his participation is a great way for the fans to celebrate the China Open's 10th anniversary," said Alfred Zhang, China Open tournament director in a statement.
"Rafa was the 2005 champion and has always been in close relationship with our tournament. It is so gratifying to see him back on court in great form and we look forward to welcoming him back in Beijing."
The Spaniard is the first of many ATP World Tour players confirmed to play and Beijing remains a special place for Nadal after his 2008 Olympic success here helping him to complete the rare achievement of a career golden slam.
"I am really looking forward to the China Open this year. I have heard great things about the Diamond Court but haven't played there yet so I hope to see all my Chinese fans there in Beijing in October," said Nadal.
Held at the National Tennis Centre from Sep 22 to Oct 6, the tournament is a combined WTA-ATP tournament and is the final premier mandatory stop on the WTA calendar, making the event mandatory for the top 47 female players.