Each and every day, China is cited in a business news article as a major driver for a particular U.S. company or industry. Whether it is General Motors' (NYSE:GM) car sales or Anheuser-Busch's (NYSE:BUD) recent pricey acquisition, all roads seem to lead to China in the investment community.

No one disputes the country is worthy of a lot of attention. China is an enormous market, its economy has been growing by leaps and bounds, and foreign firms are having an easier time investing there. Still, the outlook for China borders on euphoria at times, and as everyone knows, some ventures will not pan out, and eventually the boom will end. Even if the Asian giant's economy takes a turn for the worse, though, and the Communist government reverses or slows some of its reforms, one thing will not change: China's 1.3 billion people will have to eat.

That is what makes a recent report by Scott Rozelle at the University of California-Davis so intriguing. According to Reuters, Rozelle expects China to permit planting of genetically modified (GM) rice within two years and after doing so will likely clear cultivation of genetically modified corn and wheat.

China certified the importation of five GM products in February. All five of these are from Monsanto (NYSE:MON). While this was a major breakthrough for the company, China could hold even more promise in its soil. Only 2.8 million hectares of farmland are used to grow genetically engineered crops -- mostly cotton -- out of 126 million hectares of fields.

Certainly, Monsanto appears to have a leg up as a potential seed supplier in China. But other players, such as DuPont (NYSE:DD), Syngenta (NYSE:SYT), and BASF (NYSE:BF), all no doubt are paying close attention to the country's regulatory environment. Once again, China is planting dreams of a business bonanza.

Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer living in Chicago, Ill. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned here.