The tobacco whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), causes severe crop losses in many agricultural systems. The worst of these losses are often associated with the invasion and establishment of specific whitefly biotypes. In a comprehensive survey of biotypes present in central China between 2005 and 2007, we obtained 191 samples of B. tabaci from 19 districts in Hubei province and its surrounds. Biotypes were identified by RAPD-PCR and by sequencing the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene (mtCO1). We determined that these central Chinese haplotypes included the world's two most invasive B. tabaci biotypes (B and Q) and two indigenous biotypes (ZHJ1 and ZHJ3). The B biotype shared >99.7% identity with other Chinese B biotypes and the Q biotype shared >99.5% of its identity with Q samples from the Mediterranean, USA, Africa and East Asia. By 2007, the Q biotype was dominant over much of Hubei province and appeared to be supplanting all other biotypes, although both the invasive and indigenous biotypes existed in sympatry in some regions. The invasion and rapid establishment of the Q biotype in China mirrors events elsewhere in the world, and we suggest that this is a consequence of its reproductive isolation, its polyphagous nature and its broad-spectrum resistance to insecticides. Its dominance has severe implications for the sustainability of some insecticide groups and for the production of a number of crops.