Djokovic was deposed as world number one by Rafael Nadal on Monday but is playing some of his best tennis of the season.
The Serbian beat Nadal convincingly in the final in Beijing on Sunday for his first title since April and brushed aside Spain's Marcel Granollers 6-2 6-0 in his first match in Shanghai.
The only concern for Djokovic came early in the second set when he hopped in pain after appearing to hurt his right foot or ankle.
He called the trainer to have it strapped but it did not adversely affect him as he wrapped up the win in an hour and 10 minutes without dropping another game.
Fourth seed Tomas Berdych and seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were also straight-sets winners.
Berdych beat Spain's Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 while Tsonga, who needs a good showing in Shanghai to boost his hopes of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals, saw off Pablo Andujar 6-3 6-2.
Sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro, the champion in Tokyo last week, struggled with a fever but recovered from a set down to defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7/4).
Tommy Haas is also through after a straight-sets win over fellow German Daniel Brands but John Isner was knocked out by Carlos Berlocq and Tommy Robredo retired against Fabio Fognini.
Canada's Vasek Pospisil was unable to follow up his first-round win over Richard Gasquet as he lost out 7-5 7-6 (7/4) to Gael Monfils.