The National Meteorological Center said a swath between central Zhejiang and northern Fujian Provinces was under a red alert.
The NMC said Fitow was east of Taiwan Saturday and moving northwest. The storm was expected to bring heavy surf and storm surge to coastal areas, and drop heavy rains well inland.
China's official Xinhua News Agency said Fitow was unusual in that it was targeting southern China so late in the year. Fitow will be the 23rd typhoon to hit China this year.