The Swede, far from happy about being given just two games by the captain Jose Maria Olazabal in Chicago, leads 10 of his team-mates in Shanghai after an eight-under-par 64 lifted him to the top of the leaderboard on a 14-under 130.
Rory McIlroy, the world No.1 who is aiming to top the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic, lurks menacingly in second, just two shots adrift, but it was Hanson who caught the eye with a superbly assembled round.
Despite stumbling to a bogey at the first hole, the 35-year-old mounted a spectacular salvage operation and reeled off nine birdies, including five in six holes from the third.
McIlroy's challenge gathered pace with seven birdies in a tidy 65 that opened up a three-shot gap between him and the third-placed Robert Karlsson, who charged up the field with a 64.
Jamie Donaldson, who led the way after an opening 62, slipped six shots off the pace with a damaging 74 while Paul Lawrie repaired the damage of a double-bogey on the sixth with five birdies in a 69 to sit on the fringes of the top-10 with a 138.
At the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, Tiger Woods trails halfway leader Robert Garrigus by five shots after a 67 left the 14-time major winner on 133. Garrigus hit a second successive 64 for 128 while Glasgow's Martin Laird moved up into a tie for 11th with a 67 for 135.