J is for fighter in Chinese. it's like american ATF XX now .
shenyang and chengdu compete the 4 gen fighter project in 1990s , as we now chengdu won (J20)
shenyang lost the 3 gen fighter (J10) and 4 gen fighter project.
they must keep the design team and have experice on 4 gen fighter design. they decide to build a 4 gen fighter for export, and they have a little hope , when this fighter appear . PLA will want it for new AC.
they use their own money to develop this project( not from defence budget)
about the engine still no clue .