Johnson had six birdies in the first seven holes of the second round and added four in the final six in tying the Sheshan International Golf Course record. That mark was set by Ernie Els, Daisuke Maruyama and Rory McIlroy in 2009 and matched by Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen in 2011.
Johnson is at 12-under 132 after 36 holes.
McIlroy, the first-round leader, is among those tied for second at 7-under after even-par 72 that included three second-nine bogeys. Boo Weekley (67 Friday) and Bubba Watson (69) are also at 7-under for the tournament.
Johnson opened his second round with birdies at Nos. 1-2 and joined McIlroy atop the leaderboard with birdies over the fourth through seventh holes.
Johnson bogeyed the par-4 10th but pulled away from the field with birdie putts of 15 feet at 13 and 1 foot at the par-5 No. 14. A chip within 4 feet at 16 gave him another birdie chance and hit made a 12-footer at 18 to tie the course record.