China's official manufacturing PMI held steady at an 18-month high of 51.4 in November and topped consensus of 51.1.
However, the sub-index for smaller companies dropped to 48.3 from 48.5.
"The momentum we see is state-led and policy-led, and from that perspective, it is a mixed performance," says Conference Board economist Andrew Polk.
Export orders edged up to 50.6 from 50.4 in October. "The export order data suggests that global demand - key to the outlook for China's manufacturing - improved a bit," says RBS economist Louis Kuijs.
New orders slipped to 52.3 from 52.5.
Production and business activity expectations fell to 54.9 from October's 57.5.
Stocks of purchases contracted with a reading of 47.8, the lowest since July. "This indicates that the producers are not rushing to hoard raw materials due to lack of final demand," says ANZ Bank. (PR)