According to a statement from the airline, the plane was on a regular freight service between Shanghai and Sao Paulo-Santiago.
All ground staff and flight crew are safe, as Ethiopian Airlines worked with relevant Chinese authorities to contain the blaze, the statement added.
The cause of the incident is currently under investigation by the relevant authorities, the document said.
Images and videos circulating on Chinese social networks show thick smoke billowing from the plane, much of the upper part of the fuselage appearing to have been burnt.
After the fire, flights to Shanghai Pudong International Airport were diverted to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, aviation data provider Variflight said.