Playing her first tournament since the US Open, Jankovic lost just five points behind her first serve and saved four of five break points faced throughout the 66 minute match, which the Serb told press was tougher than the scoreline indicated.
"There were a lot of tough points, and I think my young opponent played very well," she said in her post-match press conference. "She has a great game and great potential. A lot of games were really close. Though I didn't play my best tennis, I'm happy to get through, so I hope to keep improving and get even better."
Jankovic had a strong end to her season in 2015, winning here and in Hong Kong to qualify for the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, and despite an injury-riddled season, still has big goals for her week in Guangzhou.
"I would like to play one match at a time, but my goal is to win the tournament. It won't be easy because every tournament is tough and everyone is playing well, but I will try my best to achieve it."
Up next for the former World No.1 is Sweden's Rebecca Peterson, who dispatched local wildcard and former junior No.1 Xu Shilin, 6-3, 6-1.
"In general, I've loved coming to China for so many years. I've had quite a lot of success in this part of the world. I'd like to do well again, and so I'll try my best to have a great Asian Swing and end my season on a positive note.
"But I've had a lot of injuries, two ruptures in my shoulder, and this is only my second tournament after a long time. I will try to fight and regain my confidence, get stronger, and get better with each match I play in Asia."
Jankovic even managed to have some fun before the tournament began, sharing images from the player's party on her official Facebook page:
Earlier in the day, 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki triumphed over lucky loser Kwan Yau Ng, 6-2, 6-0, while Lesia Tsurenko defeated qualifier Junri Namigata, 6-4, 6-1. Runner-up in Tokyo's International event last week, No.7 seed Katerina Siniakova bowed out to young Estonian Anett Kontaveit, 6-1, 6-1, while champion Christina McHale was forced to withdraw from Guangzhou due to a right shoulder injury.