Yaya created the first when he spotted Zabaleta's overlapping run, and the Argentine finished emphatically into the far corner.
With Arsenal still reeling, City struck again when Yaya steered in from close range after Aleksandar Kolarov had exposed the Arsenal defence with a strong run and cross.
With torrential rain making conditions difficult in the second half Arsenal began to dominate, and substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came closest to scoring - striking both posts with a ferocious strike.
But that is as close as Arsenal came, with City holding out for a comfortable win.
With the eyes of the world on London for the start of the Olympic Games, this was a brief opportunity for Beijing to remind the world of the spectacular Games they put on four years ago. The Bird’s Nest stadium is certainly a venue befitting a meeting of two Premier League giants.
And while it was the newly-crowned champions who made the early running, Arsenal enjoyed the first efforts on goal – with Jenkinson forcing Costel Pantilimon into a save low at his left post after a rasping drive from 25 yards.
Sergio Aguero could have opened the scoring for City when he twisted and turned into a shooting position before firing over, with Jenkinson getting a crucial touch to help divert the ball.
Walcott came close at the other end when he attempted to bend the ball into the top corner, but it drifted centimetres wide.
But for all of Arsenal’s gusto, they were undone in ruthless fashion.
With Arsenal outnumbered at the back from the previous attack, Yaya drove at their backpedalling defence with an incisive run before slipping in Zabaleta on the overlap – and the Argentine fired first-time into the corner.
And Arsenal barely had time to take refuge before finding themselves two down.
Kolarov found space down the left and opened up the Arsenal defence with a driven cross to the far post. Aguero miscued his shot, but Yaya was on hand to steer in from in front of Lukasz Fabianski.
Arsene Wenger made a host of half-time changes, with Oxlade-Chamberlain again lighting up the game after his introduction.
There are signs that the teenager is ready to become the centrepiece of Arsenal’s team next season and the young England star was integral to Arsenal’s second-half dominance. The former Southampton man was desperately unlucky not to open the scoring when he rifled a superb shot against both posts from 25 yards.
Another man looking to make a big impression next season is Carlos Tevez, and he could have helped cap another fine pre-season display when he led a rare second-half attack for City.
His good run and perfect through ball found compatriot Aguero, but for once Aguero was off target – attempting to delicately chip the ball over Fabianski from 10 yards.