Like more than a few other questionable tropes in this vein, this has some (emphasis on some) grounding in history. From the Chinese point of view, they did rule the world for much of their history. The Chinese name for China, "Zhongguo", literally the "central kingdom", is a reflection of this. For centuries, imperial China considered the Emperor to be the de jure ruler of the entire world, with all other sovereigns considered either vassals or rebels. Not that they were really committed to enforcing this.
Analysis / China Takes Over the World