The five-time Grand Slam champion, ranked 104th in the world, beat world number 33 Makarova 6-4 4-6 6-1.
Wildcard entry Sharapova will next play Romanian world two Simona Halep, who was leading 6-2 2-1 when Slovak opponent Magdalena Rybarikova retired with illness.
Halep lost to Sharapova in the US Open first round in August.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat America's Varvara Lepchenko 6-4 6-4 in Beijing.
The Czech 12th seed will play Denmark's world number six Caroline Wozniacki in the next round.