The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector firmed up to 49.8 in September from 49.5 in August, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on September 30.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
A breakdown of the data showed manufacturing production and market demand both saw expansion, NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said.
The sub-index for production ticked up to 52.3 in September, while that for new orders climbed to 50.5 from 49.7, signaling faster production activities and increased orders.
The reading also showed industrial upgrading continued apace, with high-tech manufacturing sector maintaining rapid expansion, Zhao said.
In addition, business sentiment has improved as the sub-reading for business expectation rose to 54.4 in September, the highest in the third quarter, he said.
China's composite PMI slightly expanded from 53 to 53.1, indicating steady business expansion, data showed.
(Writing by Emma Yang Editing by Jessie Jia)
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