The strange light display was spotted above downtown Shenzhen, in the southern province of Guangdong, with many residents taking to China's social media service Weibo to share what they saw.
According to the Shenzhen Evening Post, locals started noticing the strange illumination in the partly-cloudy night sky on 25 July, with images showing the bright lights shining directly above the huge skyscrapers of the city, which is home to 12.5 million people.
Some videos show three clear lights in the sky, while others document lights in shades of yellow, red and blue, which have formed a cluster.
In one video posted to Weibo, an onlooker can be heard saying: "There is a UFO in the sky. This is so strange."
In social media comments, many others discussed the supposedly otherworldly nature of what they had seen.
Someone wrote: "It is definitely a UFO."
Another added: "It looks like some object is hiding behind the clouds with all those lights.'
However, local weather authorities have since provided an explanation that was much more down to earth, saying the twinkling lights were merely a phenomenon known as 'light pillars'.
The Shenzhen Meteorological Bureau said these light pillars usually occur in colder climates when light sources such as the sun, moon or street lights reflect off ice crystals suspended in the air.
The occurrence is rare above the skies of Shenzhen, which is currently experiencing daily temperature highs of up to 34°C.
The local weather agency said in a social media post: "We call these 'warm evening light pillars'. They form in strict conditions even more particular than regular light pillars.
"They require the absence of low-and medium-level clouds, and the existence of only high-altitude clouds.
"They can be seen on evenings with high-humility, high atmospheric visibility, and low wind. There must also be ice crystals present.
"The absence of any one of the above conditions means they cannot exist."
Sure, light pillars may not be quite as interesting as an alien invasion may prove to be, but after the year we've all had, I'm perfectly happy with a harmless natural phenomenon...Featured Image Credit: Asia Wire