The search for susceptibility genes underlying the heterogeneous bipolar disorder has been inconclusive, often with irreproducible results. There is a hope that narrowing the phenotypes will increase the power of genetic analysis. Early-onset bipolar disorder is thought to be a genetically homogeneous subtype with greater symptom severity. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for this subtype in bipolar I (BPI) disorder. Study participants included 1779 patients of Han Chinese descent with BPI disorder recruited by the Taiwan Bipolar Consortium. We conducted phenotype assessment using the Chinese version of the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry and prepared a life chart with graphic depiction of lifetime clinical course for each of the BPI patient recruited. The assessment of onset age was based on this life chart with early onset defined as ≤20 years of age. We performed GWAS in a discovery group of 516 early-onset and 790 non-early-onset BPI patients, followed by a replication study in an independent group of 153 early-onset and 320 non-early-onset BPI patients and a meta-analysis with these two groups. The SNP rs11127876, located in the intron of CADM2, showed association with early-onset BPI in the discovery cohort (P = 7.04 × 10-8) and in the test of replication (P = 0.0354). After meta-analysis, this SNP was demonstrated to be a new genetic locus in CADM2 gene associated with early-onset BPI disorder (P = 5.19 × 10-8).