In 2009, China surpassed the United States to become the largest global energy consumer. By 2013, coal, crude oil, and natural gas combined represented more than 90% of this consumption, and it is estimated that China's energy consumption needs will more than double by the year 2040. This projection highlights China's growing challenge to safely and efficiently supply energy resources across the country. This effort will include new supplies to areas with developing rural populations and increased supplies to rapidly growing urban areas. Buried pipeline has become the selected method of transmission, as pipelines are more cost effective, more sustainable, and more efficient than the construction and operation of aboveground railway or long-haul trucking. To meet the demand, the Chinese government has implemented massive buried pipeline construction initiatives, allowing China to become the fastest growing country in trenchless technology construction methods. Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) has played a particularly critical role in executing large-scale pipeline construction by providing an economical, timely, and environmentally responsible method to bypass challenges along the path of the pipelines. Thus, Chinese HDD contractors have played a critical role in the overall development of China's buried energy infrastructure. Understanding this role would be of great value to the global trenchless technology community. Developing countries would benefit from the Chinese advancements for large-scale HDD installation. In developed areas, such as North America, studying Chinese execution may allow for new ideas to help to improve long-established HDD best practices.