As the 10th seed, the British No1 was given a first-round bye and he was quickly into his stride against qualifier Wu from Chinese Taipei.
Norrie, looking to extend his winning run after lifting a title in Rio last month, won five games in a row on his way to taking the opening set against the world No175.
Wu improved in the second set and managed a late rally as Norrie began to make mistakes in sight of the line but he served out the contest at the second opportunity for a 6-2 6-4 win.
It was his 19th victory of the season, drawing him level at the top of the standings with former US Open champion Daniil Medvedev.
Norrie, who won the biggest title of his career in the Californian desert in 2021, will take on either Matteo Berrettini or Taro Daniel in round three.
The 27-year-old’s win continued what has been a positive tournament so far for British players, with Emma Raducanu, Andy Murray and Jack Draper all winning on Thursday.
Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who came into the tournament with concerns over a shoulder problem, was a big early casualty, losing his opening match 7-6 (0) 4-6 7-6 (5) to Australia’s Jordan Thompson.
Third seed Casper Ruud has had a difficult 2023 so far but was impressive in a 6-2 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman, while Grigor Dimitrov retired injured in the final set of his clash with Jason Kubler.
In the women’s event, Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka raced to a 6-2 6-0 victory over Evgeniya Rodina.
Jil Teichmann upset her fellow Swiss Belinda Bencic, seeded ninth, 3-6 6-3 6-3, and there were also wins for Jelena Ostapenko, Petra Kvitova and in-form former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.
Sixth seed Coco Gauff of the United States moved into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa on Friday night.
The second-round clash between Donna Vekic and Lesia Tsurenko created controversy when the two players did not shake hands after Tsurenko secured a shock win over the 23rd seed 2-6 6-2 6-2. When Tsurenko reached out to greet Vekic, the latter refused the customary post-match handshake.
Eleventh seed Veronika Kudermetova defeated Anna Blinkova 6-3 6-4, sixteenth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova beat Dayana Yastremska 6-1 6-2 and Jelena Ostapenko, the 24th seed, got by Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 7-5 3-6 6-2. Rebecca Peterson moved on when 22nd seed Zhang Shuai retired at 3-0 in the first set.
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