Speaking to the Hudson Institute in Washington, Christopher Wray described a multi-pronged disruption campaign.
He said China had begun targeting Chinese nationals living abroad, coercing their return, and was working to compromise US coronavirus research.
“The stakes could not be higher,” Mr Wray said.
“China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary,” he added.
In a nearly hour-long speech on Tuesday, the FBI director outlined a stark picture of Chinese interference, a far-reaching campaign of economic espionage, data and monetary theft and illegal political activities, using bribery and blackmail to influence US policy.
“We’ve now reached a point where the FBI is now opening a new China-related counterintelligence case every 10 hours,” Mr Wray said. “Of the nearly 5,000 active counterintelligence cases currently under way across the country, almost half are related to China.”