China's manufacturing activity accelerated in November, official figures show today, beating expectations as strengthening domestic and global demand boosted production in the world's second-largest economy.

China's manufacturing purchasing managers' index, a gauge of factory conditions, stood at 51.8 for the month, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

This was up from 51.6 in October. 

Anything above 50 is considered growth while a figure below that number points to contraction. Analysts had expected a reading of 51.4.

"The manufacturing industry maintains the momentum of steady increase," NBS analyst Zhao Qinghe said in a statement.  

Balanced improvement in supply and demand as well as strengthened market vitality contributed to the growth, he said. 

But "expansion momentum has weakened in some traditional industries" including petrol refining and ferrous metal smelting and rolling processing, according to Zhao. 

Analysts said the sector faces increasing headwinds in the months ahead from the anti-pollution crackdown, slower credit growth, reduced fiscal support and a cooling property market.

The reading came after official figures showed slowing broader industrial output as Beijing fights smog by clamping down on pollution produced by heavy industries.

The government is also pushing to make domestic demand a growth driver of the economy and make China less reliant on manufacturing and exports.