This article draws attention to the transformation of statehood under globalisation as a crucial dynamic shaping the emergence and conduct of ‘rising powers’. That states are becoming increasingly fragmented, decentralised and internationalised is noted by some international political economy and global governance scholars, but is neglected in International Relations treatments of rising powers. This article critiques this neglect, demonstrating the importance of state transformation in understanding emerging powers’ foreign and security policies, and their attempts to manage their increasingly transnational interests by promoting state transformation elsewhere, particularly in their near-abroad. It demonstrates the argument using the case of China, typically understood as a classical ‘Westphalian’ state. In reality, the Chinese state’s substantial disaggregation profoundly shapes its external conduct in overseas development assistance and conflict zones like the South China Sea, and in its promotion of extraterritorial governance arrangements in spaces like the Greater Mekong Subregion.