In the opening round on Sunday, Sharapova barely got past Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-6 (7). The 30-year-old former world No. 1 is into the third round of an event for just the third time this year.
Sharapova returned from a 15-month doping ban in April.
Now ranked 104th and in the Beijing event as a wild card, Sharapova fired eight aces Tuesday to just one for Makarova. Neither player was particularly effective with the serve, as typified by the final four games -- all service breaks.
Next up, Sharapova will oppose either second-seeded Simona Halep of Romania or Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, with that duo squaring off later Tuesday.
Sharapova was the China Open champ in 2014.
In other second-round action early Tuesday, two other Russian players advanced. Elena Vesnina topped China's Ying-Ying Duan 6-3, 6-2, and Darya Kasatkina defeated Spain's Lara Arruabarrena Vecino 6-4, 7-5.
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, the 12th seed, beat Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 6-4, 6-4 in 79 minutes.
Also due to play Tuesday were fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic (against Andrea Petkovic of Germany), 11th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland (against Zhang Shuai of China) and 14th-seeded American CoCo Vandeweghe (against Daria Garvilova of Australia).