Three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit Thongchai posted a two-day total of seven-under-par 137 to stay four shots back of Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson who signed for a 66 to take the second round lead at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
Thongchai, who started the day in tied-fifth, turned in 34 after birdies on holes four and seven. He moved to within three shots of the lead after posting another birdie on the par-three 12th.
The Thai's only blemish came at the par-four 15th but he recovered well with a closing birdie on the 18th hole to head into the weekend rounds beaming with confidence.
"I played very well today [Friday], same as yesterday [Thursday]. I made only one bogey today [Friday] which was okay. Overall it was a solid round," said Thongchai.
The Thai ace, who had to endure a sore neck all-day during his first round, has recovered and is confident of making a charge.
"My neck is getting better. I slept in a very bad position the night before. But now, it better. I couldn't even turn much yesterday [Thursday] but I'm feeling good now and ready for the weekend," said Thongchai.
Asian Tour honorary member K.J. Choi of Korea also ensured that another Asian player would feature prominently on the leaderboard after returning with a 70.
The Korean, who has eight wins on the PGA Tour including the Players Championship earlier this year, is confident of stamping his mark against the elite field once he overcomes his fatigue.
"I'm just feeling very tired from the week's activities and functions. I plan to have an early night tonight [Friday] and hopefully I'll be back all recharged for the weekend," said Choi.
Choi enjoyed a flawless front-nine with birdies on holes two, four and seven to reach the turn in 33.
However, he could not complete that bogey-free run in his homeward run after he traded two bogeys against a lone birdie on the 17th hole.
"I was not swinging as well as I wanted it to be. But it's okay, I'm still in contention and after a good sleep tonight [Friday], I'll be back," said Choi.