Atmospheric CO2 starvation, aridity, fire and warm season precipitation have all been proposed as major contributors to C4 plant expansion during the Late Miocene. However, the driving factors responsible for the distribution of C4 plants in the early and mid-Miocene still remain enigmatic. Here we report pedogenic carbon and oxygen isotope data (δ13Cpedo, δ18Opedo), along with magnetic susceptibility (MS) results, from the Zhuang Lang drilling core on the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP). Elevated δ13Cpedo values (>-5‰) signal a prominent C4 expansion and substantially increased δ18Opedo and MS values indicate enhanced Asian summer monsoon (ASM) precipitation. Both of these conditions are observed during the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum (MMCO), 14.5-17 million years ago. The marked increase in C4 plants, associated with warm temperatures and increased precipitation, strongly suggests the control of an enhanced ASM on C4 expansion on the CLP during the MMCO. This finding contrasts with the late-Miocene C4 expansion associated with cooling and drying conditions observed in low latitudes and argues for regionally specific control of C4 plant distribution/expansion.