Also in November retail sales – an increasingly important driver of growth in the Chinese economy - climbed 15.8 per cent in November from a year earlier to $166bn.

Earlier this week, the government moved to bolster the recovery by extending tax cuts and subsidies for purchases of small vehicles and appliances, while adjusting some measures to counter rising property prices.

Officials have pledged to continue policies aimed at countering the impact of the global downturn, including lax credit and lavish spending launched with a $586bn stimulus package a year ago.

In a separate report also released on Friday, customs figures showed the slump in Chinese exports continuing to ease as nascent recoveries in the US and other key markets helped revive demand.

According to data from the customs administration, exports fell 1.2 per cent in November, marking the smallest decline this year.

Imports into the world's third-largest economy were also seen to rebound strongly, rising 26.7 per cent over the same month last year.

The figures suggest the global recovery is gaining momentum as consumers in the US and other regions begin spending more after months of holding back.