The party is widely expected to rewrite its constitution to enshrine this theory by the congress' end next week.
The move would elevate him to the level of previous leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
Correspondents say it would signal Mr Xi's enormous authority within the party, and make it virtually impossible for others to challenge him.
Mr Xi had opened the Communist Party congress - which determines who rules China and the country's direction for the next term - in a three hour speech on Wednesday.
On Thursday, numerous senior party officials praised "Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era" in state media reports, and said it was "the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context".
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