Factory activity in China has improved in September, according to early industry data.
The preliminary HSBC Manufacturing PMI has risen to 50.5, compared with a final reading of 50.2 the previous month. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.
The latest figures are encouraging as the world's second-largest economy struggles with a downturn.
Economists and investors are looking to China to give the global economy a boost as the European economy remains weak and the US recovery has been slow.
The improved outlook for manufacturers follows a weakening in China's industrial production, energy consumption and fixed-asset investment in August.
"That is reassuring for people worried about the downturn in the economy," said Crédit Agricole CIB economist Dariusz Kowalczyk. But he expects China's growth to decelerate to 7 percent year-over-year in the second half from 7.4 percent in the first half as the manufacturing sector is weaker than in the past. "I don't see anything to change that view of slower (economic) growth," he said.