The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers´ index (PMI) climbed to 51.1 in April from a four-month low of 51.0 in March, and topped economists´ forecast for a modest slowdown to 50.9.
New orders edged up to 55.7 from 55.6 in April as new export orders climbed to the highest since March 2011, the data showed.
The increase in new business was the first recorded by the survey so far in 2018.
The survey revealed that residential work was by far the best performing category last month, with the rate of growth reaching its strongest since May 2017. The PMI's gauge of factory cost pressures cooled to a nine-month low, something that will be noted by BoE rate-setters who are keeping an eye on inflation pressures ahead of next week's policy decision.
While manufacturing conditions appear to have improved globally, Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd expects a dreary outlook for the domestic manufacturing sector as exports appear to remain weak over the first quarter (Q1) 2018.
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"A composite PMI above 50 points indicates that the manufacturing/non-manufacturing economy is generally expanding, 50 points indicates no change and below 50 points indicates that it is generally contracting".
China's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 51.4 percent in April, slightly down from 51.5 percent in March, said the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday.
The data comes after separate figures from the manufacturing sector showed activity fall to a 17-month low, which knocked sterling on Tuesday.
The reading for April was the weakest since March 2017. The rate of growth in output was solid overall and the fastest since January.
Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said: "The start of the second quarter saw the United Kingdom manufacturing sector lose further steam". Problematically, the rate of contraction quickened the fastest in just over a year.
It also said that firms continued to shed staff, while inflationary pressures moderated sharply.