A pair of Danes, Thomas Bjorn and Soren Hansen, share second place at 5-under-par 211. Bjorn got there with a 4-under 68, while Hansen posted a 70. Welshman Bradley Dredge also carded a 70 to move to minus-4, where he stands alone in fourth place.
Dodd opened his round with four straight pars. He climbed minus-8 with back-to-back birdies from the fifth. The Welshman stumbled back to 5 under when he triple-bogeyed the par-4 seventh after his second shot found water.
The 38-year-old moved back to even par for his round with a birdie at the par-5 ninth. After three straight pars, Dodd moved to 7 under for the tournament with a birdie at the 13th at Shanghai Silport Golf Club.
Dodd then parred his next four holes before closing with a birdie at the last to maintain his three-shot lead.
'There's nothing you can do about that,' Dodd said of his second shot on seven. 'I had a few chances for birdies on the back nine and it was nice to hole a 10-footer for birdie at the last, as I missed a few chances before that. I didn't drive the ball very well, but the rest of the game was pretty solid, so we'll have to see what happens tomorrow.'
Bjorn birdied par-5 first for the third time in three days. However, for the second round in a row, Bjorn bogeyed the next. He settled in with five consecutive pars before a birdie at the eighth moved him to minus-2.
The seven-time winner on the European Tour again ran off five straight pars from the ninth. Bjorn then birdied the 14th and came back to birdie 15. He made it three straight as he birdied No. 16 to get to 5 under. The Dane parred his final two holes to remain there.
'It took a long time before things started to happen and then I made three birdies,' said Bjorn. 'And all of the sudden, I'm on the leaderboard which is the main thing and now it is a question of going out tomorrow, look them in the eye and say this is it, who is going to win the tournament.'
Hansen, who is playing with a fractured finger which happened while he was playing basketball, did the bulk of his scoring over the first 10 holes. He got to 4 under for the tournament when he birdied the third. The Dane tumbled to a bogey at the fifth however.
The 2002 Irish Open winner then reeled off three straight birdies to jump to 6 under and a one-stroke lead.
The 30-year-old Hansen lost his momentum and the lead with a bogey at nine. He dropped another stroke at 10, but managed to get one shot back with a birdie at the 15th. He closed with three straight pars to remain tied for second.
Barry Lane and Simon Yates each carded rounds of 2-under 70 to move to 3-under-par 213. They are tied there by Joon Chung (72), Mark Foster (71) and Gregory Havret (67).
Mads Vibe-Hastrup, Thaworn Wiratchant and Amandeep Johl share 10th place at 2-under-par 214. Jonathan Lomas and Steve Webster are one stroke further back at minus-1.