China's PMI rose from 47.7 in July, under the break-even point of 50, to 50.1 in August, which indicates slight growth in the month.
The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI is based on 85 percent to 90 percent of the total data and could be revised as fresh data becomes available, Markit said.
Markit said the output and new orders indexes both went from negative to positive. The employment index showed a decline, but at a slower pace than in July.
"China's manufacturing growth has started to stabilise on the back of modest improvements of new business and output. This is mainly driven by the initial filtering -- through recent fine-tuning measures and companies' restocking activities, despite the continuous external weakness," said Hongbin Qu, chief economist, China and co-head of Asian Economic Research at HSBC.