China's flash manufacturing PMI has tumbled to a seven-month low of 48.3 in February from 49.5 in January and missed consensus of 49.4.
Manufacturing Output Index dropped to 49.2 from 50.8.
The sub-indexes for new orders, new export orders and employment contracted.
"The building-up of disinflationary pressures implies that the underlying momentum for manufacturing growth could be weakening," says HSBC.
The faster contraction of PMI adds to other data that provides a mixed picture for China's economy, although the latest figures may have been hampered by the Chinese New Year.
The Shanghai Composite is -0.2%. (PR)