U.S. architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) firms doing business in China are minimally successful because they are unfamiliar with the Chinese market. To assist the U.S. AEC firms to become more competitive in the Chinese market, a comprehensive investigation of the Chinese construction industry after the Culture Revolution was conducted. The development of the industry was divided into three stages: the first stage was from 1978 to 1992, the second stage was from 1992 to 2001, and the third stage was from 2001 to 2007. In each stage, the administrative framework, laws and regulations, procurement methods, and market structure were studied. In addition, statistical data, such as Gross Domestic Product, Gross Output Value, and the numbers of employees and companies during each stage, were analyzed. Next, economic indicators of the Chinese and U.S. construction industries were compared. Finally, the future growth trend of the Chinese construction industry was projected. The results of the investigation can help the U.S. AEC firms become more familiar with the Chinese construction market and be more competitive in this market.