The official Xinhua news service reported that the craft began its descent just after 1300 GMT (2100 Beijing time), touching down in Sinus Iridum (the Bay of Rainbows) 11 minutes later.
State television showed pictures of the moon's surface as the lander touched down and an eye-level view of the landing site was released later on Saturday. Staff at mission control in Beijing clapped and celebrated after confirmation came through.
The probe's soft-landing was the most difficult task during the mission, Wu Weiren, the lunar programme's chief designer, told Xinhua.
It is the third robotic rover mission to land on the lunar surface, but the Chinese vehicle carries a more sophisticated payload than previous missions, including ground-penetrating radar which will gather measurements of the lunar soil and crust.