After about 90 minutes in the air the plane landed safely back at Pudong airport in Shanghai.
The plane is a key symbol of Beijing's soaring ambitions to enter the global aviation market.
The jet by state-owned firm Comac has been planned since 2008 but the flight was repeatedly pushed back.
For Friday's maiden flight, the plane carried only its skeleton crew of five pilots and engineers and took off in front of a crown of thousands of dignitaries, aviation workers and enthusiasts.
Ahead of the flight, state television said the plane would fly at an altitude of only 3,000 metres (9,800 feet), some 7,000 metres lower than a regular trip, and reach a speed of around 300 kilometres (186 miles) per hour.
The C919 is designed to be a direct competitor to Boeing's 737 and the Airbus A320.
It's estimated that the global aviation market will be worth $2tn (£1.55tn) over the next 20 years.