China's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector rose to 50.3 percent in March, up from 50.2 percent for February, according to official data released on Tuesday.
A reading below 50 indicates contraction, while that above 50 signals expansion.
The monthly indicator is released by the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.
The index shows China's manufacturing sector is stable, said Zhao Qinghe, a senior analyst with the NBS.
Zhao attributed the rise to the resumption of production and business after the Spring Festival holiday.
In March, the sub-index for production stood at 52.7 percent, up 0.1 percentage points from February. The sub-index for new orders also gained 0.1 percentage points to 50.6 percent, the statement said.
The two sub-indexes for foreign trade both rose. The sub-index for new export orders gained 1.9 percentage points to 50.1 percent, while the index for imports climbed 2.6 percentage points to 49.1 percent.