The Serb, who has now triumphed four times in Beijing, won 6-3 6-4 in 87 minutes as Nadal suffered just his fourth defeat of the year.
Djokovic's celebrations were muted despite his fourth career title in 2013, a month on from his second consecutive grand slam final loss at the US Open.
Nadal has nine titles in comparison and despite his shock day one Wimbledon loss to Steve Darcis won at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows.
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more