Sailors working with the Chinese Volvo Ocean Race team have confirmed to Newshub Team China is in talks to enter the America's Cup.
Officials there have turned to a former Team New Zealand winning sailor to help expand their sailing ambitions, and he says we can expect to learn more in the next few months.
Liu Xue goes by the nickname "Black". He's a sailing star in China with a Kiwi star in his sights.
"We want to be here to do the America's Cup with the China team, and we want to win. We want to battle with Peter Burling," he says.
He already is. Black's Dongfeng team in the Volvo Ocean Race are beating Burling's Team Brunel.
Three of the sailors on board were in China's last attempt at an America's Cup campaign in 2013. Since then, former Team New Zealand grinder Craig Monk has advised Chinese officials as they've developed more than 30 new marinas and yacht clubs.
He says a proposed animation of the Auckland America's Cup village, which featured a Chinese team, wasn't just based on rumour.
"There's some truth at it - they'd certainly have what they need to do a Cup programme and we'd love to see them here.
"I can't say too much but that's definitely what I'm working towards."
He says all will be clearer after China sees more specifics around the monohull boat design in the next few months. Their planning would also need to allow time for some overseas crew to get Chinese residency to comply with new nationality rules.
Dongfeng is a Chinese team in name, but on board it's still a real international collaboration from the French, who have long been their sailing partners, and also two Kiwis.
Captain Daryl Wislang says the dream is still working with Team New Zealand but he's open to offers.
"If the Chinese get a Cup team together then awesome, and if they want to offer me a job then all the better."
A Cup entry from Team France is looking doubtful now that sponsor Groupama has pulled out.
Bruno Dubois, the team manager from the last French campaign, is now working with China. He says Chinese sponsors find the America's Cup even more appealing than the Volvo Ocean Race.
"America's Cup is about winning and about prestige, and that's what Chinese people like, so there is more chance for growth into the America's Cup. I hope the finance people who are working on the America's Cup will understand that and push for it."
So the deciding factor seems not if the Chinese have the money but whether they think they'd be able to mount a campaign with a reasonable chance of beating Team New Zealand.