The Chinese preliminary Markit/Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 48.3 in October from 47.2 in September, exceeding expectations for a rise to 47.5.
A reading below 50 indicates contraction of activity.
The index was driven by a slower contraction of new business.
"The slight upswing shows the manufacturing industry's overall weakening has slowed down, indicating that previous stimulating measures have begun to take effect. Weak aggregate demand remained the biggest obstacle to economic growth, and the risk of deflation resulting from the continued fall in the prices of bulk commodities needs attention," Dr. He Fan, Chief Economist at Caixin Insight Group, said.