Here is a timeline of China's naval flanker program just to give you an idea:
2001, Assemble the T-10K-3 prototype that PLAN purchased from Ukraine. Use this for long term technical study.
January 2007, AVIC1 and PLAN’s major program (J-15) research work started.
July 2007, AVIC1 SAC had a large program tackling meeting
January 2008, blueprint work finished, start prototype research & production stage
August 31st 2009, J15-0001 had maiden flight
May 6th 2010, maiden take-off flight from the simulated jet-ski at CFTE. Continued production of single digit number of prototypes for future testing
August 10th, 2011, China’s first aircraft carrier went out for sea trials. J-15-0005/CFTE-554 and J15-0008/CFTE-556 prototypes made numerous fly-overs, low altitude touch and go landing along the way.
July 2012, Finished certification test flights, given permission to product single digit number of batch 0 J-15s for initial testing/trials works
September 25th, 2012, PLAN first aircraft carrier was named Liaoning and had its first sailing after commissioning in October
November 3rd, 2012, J-15S-0001 had maiden flight
Early November, 2012, Liaoning had second sailing after commissioning
November 20th, 2012, a PLANAF pilot made the first carrier landing trial.
November 23rd, 2012, Two PLANAF pilots flying 2 J-15s finished carrier op controlled first official takeoff and landing trials. This marks successful completion of first stage of the Carrier aviation project.