After starting from second on the grid, the Brazilian overtook polesitter Jean-Eric Vergne into the first corner and was never troubled for the lead thereafter.
With 15 laps remaining he had opening up a massive five-second lead, although his advantage was halved as the race progressed after he started to employ energy-saving tactics.
Piquet's main rival for the Championship, Lucas di Grassi, had to settle for second place after starting from third on grid, after usurping Vergne during the pitstops.
Vergne had a disappointing race altogether. After relinquishing the first two places, he was hopeful of a podium finish going into the final lap, but in the end had to settle for fifth place.
Sebastien Buemi overtook him on the final lap but seemed to cross the run-off area in the process and slowed down to let Vergne past again.
However, Vergne didn't reclaim the position and in the confusion, he was passed by Nick Heidfeld as well.
In fact, Buemi could well have challenged the leading pair had it not been for a mistake by his e.dams team in the pits that cost him and his team-mate Nicolas Prost, who finished ninth, as much as eight seconds.
Daniel Abt finished in six while Salvador Duran and Antonio Felix da Costa were seventh and eighth.
Da Costa struggled for the most part to overtake Jarno Trulli, before eventually making his way past the Italian, who lost his rear wing after a coming together with Loic Duval.
Trulli had to settle for ninth place, just ahead of Justin Wilson.
1 Nelson Piquet Jr. China 43m18.867s
2 Lucas di Grassi Abt 2.012s
3 Sebastien Buemi e.dams 11.050s
4 Nick Heidfeld Venturi 11.548s
5 Jean-Eric Vergne Andretti 12.416s
6 Daniel Abt Abt 25.626s
7 Salvador Duran Aguri 28.960s
8 Antonio Felix da Costa Aguri 30.529s
9 Nicolas Prost e.dams 31.556s
10 Justin Wilson Andretti 46.320s
11 Loic Duval Dragon 49.763s
12 Jerome D'Ambrosio Dragon 51.474s
13 Karun Chandhok Mahindra 52.493s
14 Jaime Alguersuari Virgin 55.810s
15 Stephane Sarrazin Venturi 56.715s
16 Bruno Senna Mahindra 1 Lap
17 Vitantonio Liuzzi Trulli 1 Lap
18 Jarno Trulli Trulli 3 Laps
19 Antonio Garcia China 3 Laps
– Sam Bird Virgin Retirement