This paper reports on a qualitative study that investigated the identity negotiation and English learning investment transformation of learners in a Chinese university. The informants included three female undergraduate students from English and Bioscience majors enrolled in a Chinese university. Recordings of conversation, students' self-reports, and interviews were collected over one and a half years. This paper draws on ideas from the framework of communities of practice (Wenger, 1998), and employs the notions of identity, investment (Norton, 2000). The paper examined how English second language (L2) learners constructed multiple identities to position themselves in a Chinese educated urban community and an English speaking Christian community. It analysed how their participation and identities in the two communities were constructed, and how their motivation for learning English was transformed. The study reveals how, in an era of globalization, and specifically in the rapidly changing economic, sociocultural and political context of the People's Republic of China (PRC), English language learning entails complex and intertwined issues of motivation, identity and culture, which demand further exploration. Copyright © 2008 John Benjamins Publishing Company.