Yang Liwei, deputy director general of China Manned Space Agency, said China is making "preliminary preparations" for a manned lunar mission, state media said.
China confirmed in 2016 its intentions to carry out the mission – which was been touted in recent years one of the key targets of its ambitions plans for space exploration.
But officials speaking at the Global Space Exploration Conference in Beijing this week have gave a clear indication that planning has begun.
According to a report by Xinhua news agency, Mr Yang, who was China's first man space in 2003, told a group interview that "it will not take long for the project to get official approval and funding."
The report did not provide any specific date.
It continued: "Wu Yansheng, president of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), also said that China is working on a manned lunar landing plan."