The Chinese preliminary HSBC manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) increased to 49.6 in June from 49.2 in May, exceeding expectations for a rise to 49.4.
A reading below 50 indicates contraction of activity.
The output index hit 50.0 in June. New export orders increased.
"On the one hand, the sector shows signs of improvement as output stabilized amid a slight pick-up in total new work, while purchasing activity also rose slightly over the month," Markit economist Annabel Fiddes said.
She added that the Chinese manufacturing sector lost momentum in the second quarter, and the Chinese government may add further measures "to stimulate growth and job creation".